It’s almost time for a new season of Formula One!
As always, “silly season”, changes to the calendar, and unanswered questions mean that 2023 is set to be another exhilarating season of racing.
Here are five things to look out for when you watch Formula One in 2023.
Three rookies join the grid in 2023. Oscar Piastri (McLaren), Nyck De Vries (Alpha Tauri) and Logan Sargeant (Williams). Interestingly, only one of these drivers (Sargeant) raced in F1’s feeder series, Formula 2, last year (and he finished 4th in the championship).
After Vettel and Alonso triggered the Formula 1 silly season of 2022, Alpine announced that Piastri would replace Alonso in 2023. Oscar had different ideas, though. He eventually replaced Daniel Ricciardo at McLaren in 2023. It remains to be seen if the back-to-back F3 and F2 champions can deliver on the big stage. We’ll find out in 2023.
Nyck De Vries almost finished above Nicholas Latifi in 2022, and he only drove one race…
The former F2 and Formula E champion looks like a solid bet for rookie of the year. He seemed to have driven half of the cars on the grid in 2022 – during practice, qualifying, and a race. And at the age of 27 (28 when the 2023 season starts), he’s not exactly a “rookie” with the amount of experience he has behind the wheel.
Niko Hulkenberg also returns to the grid after a 3-year absence. He is replacing Mick Schumacher in the Haas. It’s a big statement from Haas to leave the son of a legend out of Formula 1, but they’re at a point where they need to start delivering consistent results.
Mick didn’t manage to do that in 2022.
2. Perez & Red Bull
This may be a bold, hopeful, and unrealistic prediction, but look out for Daniel Ricciardo finishing on the podium in 2023.
Yes, he’s the reserve driver at Red Bull, but the relationship between Sergio Perez, the team, and Max Verstappen seemed to have crumbled towards the end of 2022. This provides the perfect opportunity for former Red Bull race winner, Daniel Ricciardo, to sit in for Perez one race weekend to show that he “never left”.
Some may say “redemption”.
3. Sprint Races
The sprint races didn’t disappoint in 2022. In 2023, there will be a total of six locations hosting a sprint weekend. These are:
- Baku in Azerbaijan
- Spielberg in Austria
- Spa in Belgium
- Losail in Qatar
- Austin in the USA
- Interlagos in Brazil
It’s going to be interesting to see how the sprint format will work at the newly added tracks (Baku, Spa, and Austin).
There wasn’t one poor sprint race in 2022, so we’re excited to see three extra in 2023.
4. Heated Teammate Rivalries
It wouldn’t be Formula 1 if there weren’t real or fake teammate rivalries brewed up by the media.
Although, some teams could hit boiling point between teammates. I’ve highlighted three pairings below:
Leclerc v Sainz
Sainz could become frustrated if the favouritism leans towards Leclerc in 2023. Sainz was unlucky with an unhealthy number of DNFs in 2022. But he’ll be coming back in 2023 with the hope of repeating what he did in 2021 – beating his teammate.
Hamilton v Russell
If the Mercedes car is consistently challenging for race wins in 2023, we could hear the famous lines from a certain Mercedes race engineer – “George, it’s James, please let Lewis by…”.
The question is, will Russell (who got the better of Lewis in 2022) oblige?
Alonso v Stroll
If Fernando Alonso was frustrated with Alpine and Esteban Ocon, I dread how he will handle the Stroll family. Or, it could go perfectly for him, and he’ll achieve multiple podiums in 2023.
Only time will tell, but it will definitely be weird seeing Alonso in a green race suit.
5. Vegas GP
For many F1 fans, whatever happens in Vegas should stay in Vegas. Not in F1.
It was a controversial decision to add another American track to the calendar, and that was elevated when fans realised it was a street circuit on a Saturday night.
Expect fireworks both on and off the track when we visit Las Vegas in 2023.