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Divebomb 2023 F1 Predictions: Dan Jones

Written by Dan Jones, Edited by Sameena Khan

With car launches complete and Pre-Season Testing around the corner, the 2023 Formula One Season hype is building, and the DIVEBOMB team will release their predictions daily until the Bahrain Grand Prix. Dan Jones, Production Manager at DIVEBOMB, continues our series.

Driver’s Champion: Will Verstappen continue his recent form?

Image Credits: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

You’re always taking a risk picking the champion before the first race, let alone pre-season testing, but I went with my gut instinct last year. It proved correct, so similarly to last year, I predict Max Verstappen to be crowned the 2023 Formula One World Drivers Champion. Verstappen was consistently formidable the previous year, with mistakes rarely creeping into his game. His incredible ability and Red Bull’s cautiousness to reveal details about their 2023 are encouraging signs for Red Bull fans. With Mercedes effectively eliminating themselves from being competitive early on in the year and Ferrari being Ferrari, you’d play a brave game to bet against Verstappen being crowned champion in 2023. We know the Dutchman is the best at seeking out all of his car performance, and he showed that in his record-breaking season last year. Sergio Perez will provide no threat to Verstappen. Even if Ferrari is as competitive as last year, I would be confident that Verstappen would retain his title and join some of the greats in winning three world championships.

Team’s Champion: Will the RB19 be a championship winning car?

Image Credits: Mike Coppola/Getty Images

I will play it safe again and predict Red Bull, but in fairness, it's difficult to predict against them. Mercedes don't seem confident ahead of the new season. Although Ferrari will likely have a robust package, the Leclerc-Sainz combination will not match the Verstappen force and Perez's consistency. Red Bull has revealed little about the RB19, and pre-season testing will likely be the first time we see the car. This suggests there is something to hide. Red Bull's development to 2023 after Belgium indicates that the 2023 challenger has been developing effectively behind the scenes. Although I expect Mercedes to provide more threat, Red Bull will likely keep their advantage and restart the era that saw them so successful in the early 2010s.

Flop of the Year: Will Zhou keep his seat for 2023?

Image Credits: Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images

I embarrassed myself by predicting Alex Albon as the season's flop last year so I will play a more cautious game this year. I have my doubts about Oscar Piastri and Logan Sargeant. Still, they will get the benefit of the doubt being in their rookie seasons. So instead, I'm going to go for Zhou Guanyu. Zhou's rookie season was unremarkable, but being a rookie did get that excuse. However, with that season under his belt and the Chinese under much more scrutiny, he must step up to the forefront in 2023, particularly with Theo Pourchaire sticking around in F2. I expect Zhou to be outclassed by Bottas again in 2023. Yes, Bottas did make the most of Alfa Romeo's performance advantage early in the season. However, the difference was still staggering. With Alfa Romeo's 2023 challenger not being particularly hyped, I can see Zhou Guanyu suffering a poor season.

Surprise of the Year: How will the Hulk fare at Haas?

Expectations of Nico Hulkenberg's return to the Formula One Grid are relatively neutral. However, I will boldly pick him as the season's surprise. Hulkenberg has proven himself to be the midfield leader several times, and Haas has a very reliable lineup with him and Kevin Magnussen. Although Hulkenberg may take a few races to get up to speed, the German's consistency is still being determined. Suppose Haas can move slightly up the pecking order. In that case, Hulkenberg should be challenging for points regularly. With Haas's reliable lineup to its advantage, it could finally be the opportunity to solidify itself as a strong midfield team.

Most Improved: Will Sainz be able to replicate his day in the sun?

Image Credits: Peter J Fox/Getty Images

Carlos Sainz’s 2022 season was underwhelming, to say the least, but things would struggle to be worse, so I predict Sainz to be the most improved. Sainz has been on the same level as a teammate, Charles Leclerc, looking back to 2021, for example, and was unfortunate with several DNFs last season. As a result, I believe Sainz will be able to add to his win tally of 1 and start to challenge the Red Bulls, notably Sergio Perez on a more regular occasion, and even teammate Charles Leclerc. Although I don’t expect him to beat Leclerc or Verstappen, I predict that Sainz will jump the Mercedes in the pecking order in 2023 and finally revive the reliable and consistent Carlos Sainz we saw between 2019 and 2021.

Bold Prediction: Will we see Alonso back on the podium?

I’ve barely spoken about this team in my predictions, but I am confident about their chances. Of course, the team I am referring to is Aston Martin. Fernando Alonso seems as optimistic as ever, alongside team principal Mike Krack. Although Lance Stroll will continue to underwhelm, I predict Fernando Alonso will be back at the front of the field. He will step on the podium multiple times in 2023 and finally claim his 100th podium in Formula One. Yes, it’s a bold prediction, but Aston Martin was rapidly improving in the pecking order toward the end of last year. With Mr. Reliable Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin may have a good chance in 2023.


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