What to look forward to in the F1 2023 season
Written by Michaela Fava, Edited by Simran Kanthi
Last year’s championship was secured by Max Verstappen after accumulating 454 points, followed by a very close battle for second place, with Charles Leclerc obtaining 308 points and Sergio Perez in third place with 305 points. The last race at Abu Dhabi was not a fight for the championship, Verstappen had already won it in the Japanese Grand Prix. Although, it was tense between Leclerc and Perez, both giving their final push and racing head-to-head for the majority of the race as they were both tied in points for second place.
Who will be fighting for this year’s championship? Last season, Leclerc also stated, “I am very impatient, I will prepare and do everything possible to be World Champion in 2023. I have always loved Ferrari, I want to win a world title with this team, and I want to do it as soon as possible. When the time comes to evaluate the future I’ll think about it, but I love this team.” Seeing that Perez was also very close to coming second in the drivers' championship, it’s pretty evident that this season he will be giving his utmost for the team and for the title. Clearly, he will not accept second or third place again!
Will we be seeing Lewis Hamilton giving a better push and giving a comeback? 2020 was Hamilton’s year when he got the 7th world championship title in his career. With a heartbreaking final lap at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix which could have won him the historic 8th title and 2022 being a season to forget for him and Mercedes, we can certainly expect Hamilton and the team to fight for victories and the titles.
We also have to get used to the new drivers on the grid and the switching of teams. Contracts were renewed, some weren’t, and also new contracts were made. Finally, all the teams have settled and we have some known drivers having a place as reserved drivers. Starting off with Pierre Gasly who moved to Alpine alongside Esteban Ocon, replacing Fernando Alonso who is taking Sebastian Vettel’s seat in Aston Martin alongside Lance Stroll. Oscar Piastri, the new driver to the grid, is replacing Daniel Ricciardo in McLaren alongside Lando Norris. Nico Hulkenberg is coming back to the grid in place of Mick Schumacher at Haas alongside Kevin Magnussen. Nyck de Vries, also a new driver on the grid, is having a seat at AlphaTauri following Gasly's departure and is teamed with Yuki Tsunoda. And Logan Sargeant, the final new driver on the grid, is at Williams with Alex Albon instead of Nicholas Latifi.
We will not be seeing Sebastian Vettel due to his retirement from Formula One, although some still have faith that he might return, who knows in what position, but wanting Vettel back is a huge request from the fans. Mick Schumacher got signed as a reserve driver for Mercedes and Daniel Riccardo as a reserve driver for Red Bull. Will we get the chance to see them during any Free Practice during a race weekend?
Compared to last year’s season, we will be having 23 races, this being after the Chinese Grand Prix getting cancelled for the fourth consecutive year. We will also be seeing six sprint races taking place in Azerbaijan, Austria, Belgium, Qatar, the USA, and Brazil. These sprint races are held on Saturday on the race weekend, and the usual Qualifying takes place on Friday. During these weekends, the Qualifying will determine the positions for the sprint race, whereas the results of the sprint race will determine the grid for the main race.
The pre-season testing will take place in Bahrain which is also the first race of the season and will be held on the 5 March. The testing will start from 23 February to 25 February, with eight hours total split between four hours in the morning and four hours in the afternoon, where one driver will be testing in the morning and the other testing in the afternoon.
Before all this, we have the 2023 car launches to look forward to that happen every year before the start of the season.