Written by Sofia Constantino, Edited by Sameena Khan
With car launches complete and pre-season testing around the corner, the 2023 Formula One season hype is building. The DIVEBOMB team will release their predictions daily until the Bahrain Grand Prix. Kicking us off our series is Sofia Costantino, journalist and interviewer for Divebomb.
Max Verstappen will finish second in the Driver’s Championship. With luck and the great car Red Bull had for the 2022 season, Verstappen got his second consecutive championship victory, bringing his team the Constructors' Championship too. But this year, the battle will be much more arduous between the three giants: Red Bull, Mercedes, and Ferrari.
The significant change among these three teams is the arrival of Fred Vasseur as Ferrari Team Principal. His impact on the team's performance remains to be seen. Still, the Tifosi are willing to be optimistic and suggest he will bring the Scuderia together and tidy up the disaster from the past years at Maranello.
Therefore, I'm picking a Ferrari driver as the 2023 world champion. That driver is Charles Leclerc, the Monegasque, Lord Perceveral. Last season he scored eleven podiums, finishing second in the championship. I’m backing him to learn from last year's mistakes, notably those at the Emilia Romagna and French Grand Prix. I expect Ferrari to bring a better car than last year, one that can compete with and beat both Red Bull and Mercedes.
Constructors’ Champion: Ferrari
For this new season, I will pick the legendary team, Ferrari. The team has been on a rough patch for the past couple of years, but it seems to be a whole different picture this year; with the arrival of Fred Vasseur, there appears to be more optimism and reassurance. For that reason, and both drivers' talent, I'm confident that this season will be Ferrari's comeback.
Flop of the Year: Lance Stroll
Last season, it was a battle between Kevin Magnussen and Lance Stroll, but Magnussen got to win a race. At the same time, Stroll is stuck in the same position (Magnussen's pole position in Brazil was an absolute masterpiece).
This season, I don't think we'll see much improvement in his driving, and I don't think we'll see his face on the podium. But, on the other hand, I expect the complete opposite from his one-of-a-kind teammate: the one and only Fernando Alonso. I'm confident that Alonso will give us his best season this year, seeing him in the top ten and even many podiums. He's one of the greatest of all time, and I don’t expect any less from him.
Surprise of the Year: Lando Norris
The McLaren driver may have scored fewer points last year than the previous season. Still, in my opinion, he drove far better and more consistently – and was also the only non-Mercedes, Ferrari, or Red Bull driver to score a podium in a much lower car than the others.
Given his talent, perseverance, and determination, I expect Norris to be the season's surprise this year. Along with him, the fight this season will be more challenging, seeing faces like George Russell and Carlos Sainz and fighting for a place on the podium often.
Lando Norris, George Russell (team leader), Carlos Sainz, Max Verstappen, and Charles Leclerc. Not seeing Lewis Hamilton or Sergio Perez may be a shock, but this is what predictions are all about.
Most Improved Driver: George Russell
As of the 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Russell has achieved one victory, one pole position, five fastest laps, and nine podium finishes. For this season, I believe he will gain many more podiums and wins not only with a great car but also with his determination and strength. He's proven to be one of the best drivers on the grid.
Most Improved Constructor: McLaren
As for the most improved constructor, I'll take McLaren. Last season the team was more up and down than usual. This year they are looking to achieve more downforce, to be more efficient, and to achieve good results, rather than what happened last year. I'm hoping to see a new and improved team.
Hot Take of the Year: Logan Sargeant
Logan's first entire season in Formula 2 saw him celebrate victories at Silverstone and Spielberg, alongside further podium appearances in Barcelona and Baku.
He will be on the same team this new season as Alex Albon: Williams. These two will complement each other and achieve great things for the team. Let's remember that Logan Sargeant is the first driver from the United States to compete in the series since 2015. I believe we will witness a one-of-a-kind driver who will succeed and exceed everyone's expectations.
These were my 2023 F1 Predictions; let us know what yours are below!