THE start of the 2023 season is now in sight and it’s set to be yet another exciting one. There’s been a lot of changes with the cars, team dynamics and drivers alike- with new fresh faces joining the grid in addition to some very familiar ones returning. Here’s my rundown on the teams ahead of the upcoming season…
MoneyGram Haas F1 Team
Haas were the first out the block this year with a very sleek looking livery for 2023. Compared to last years car, the team have replaced the all white based livery to a new slick black base but keeping it classy with white and red accents across the car. Although we are yet to see their 2023 car, there are a lot of question marks over Haas and what might be their strengths and weaknesses.
Haas are set to continue their way upwards on the grid after finishing eighth in the constructors championship last year. With familiar faces of Kevin Magnessun and Nico Hulkenberg, there’s no doubt there will be a lot of experience with the team. Haas suffered greatly last year missing out on valuable points which could have put them significantly higher than what they ended up in. The team hope it will be a more successful season in 2023.
Oracle Red Bull Racing: RB19
Like many, I wasn’t expecting a big change with Redbull’s livery but why fix something that’s not broken? There are subtle changes but you have to really dive deep to find them. Personally I love that the livery is matte, however I was really hoping (like every year) that there would be a more significant change. As for the reveal itself, there was growing anticipation for the car to finally be unveiled. By now though, it’s common knowledge that Redbull tend to put on a show in cases such as this.
The choice to host the reveal in New York was a nice touch as Formula 1 is becoming a household name in the United States. It was somewhat nostalgic to see Daniel settling back in with the team after 4 years away. Red Bull then revealed that Ford would be their engine supplier for the 2026 season. It’ll be history repeating itself once again, and with both Ford and Ferrari power units on the grid it will surely be an exciting watch for the future.
Red Bull had their most successful season ever last year with the driver pairing of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez. The duo are now going into their third season together as teammates and will have great stability not just on track, but off track too. They also have the longest running team principal- Christian Horner- at the head of the team, as well as technical genius Adrian Newey who has played a key role in the development the the RB19.
As winners last year, along with their penalty on exceeding the cost cap Red Bull have had a reduction on wind tunnel time. This is in addition to less test and development time, therefore it is crucial that they work on this throughout the season. As everyone in F1 knows, it’s one thing to get to the top but quite another to stay there. The question remains on everyone’s minds, can Red Bull remain on top this season? We’ll find out in a couple of weeks when the lights go out in Bahrain.
Williams Racing: FW45
Williams was next in line to reveal their challenger, the FW45. This newly developed car is very similar to last year’s in terms of the blue colour scheme, only it sports an evolved pattern across the vehicle. Personally, I really loved this livery last year and I’m glad they haven’t changed it too much. They have reimplemented the Duracell airbox idea from last year, which was a lovely marketing touch and really gets the name out there.
It’s all change at Grove with the return of Alex Albon in their car for his second season. The Thai driver’s second stint comes with great responsibility, since Albon will also be a key role in the set-up and development of the car as well as leading the team.
Williams have also promoted their academy driver Logan Sargent to a full time race seat for the 2023 season, and the American driver has a lot to prove in his first season with the team. With the title of rookie of the year in Formula 2, and the rapid growing fanbase in the States Sargent has been with the team since 2019 and will be the first American driver in Formula 1 in eight years.
Let’s not forget that there’s a new man in charge, as James Vowels makes the leap from Chief Strategist at Mercedes to Team Principal at the British based team (and let’s face it, some may see this as a very bold decision). Unfortunately for Williams fans, it will be too late for Vowels to have any impact on this year’s car, as his main focus will be on making the best of what he has for this year and making plans for the years ahead.
Vowels comes to the table with a lot of knowledge and experience, following his work with the famed silver arrows for the last decade. Despite this, he has claimed that Williams require “a different approach” to what had previously worked with the German team. Can Williams better themselves after last year? Let’s hope so.
Alfa Romeo: C43
Alfa Romeo were next to unveil their car for 2023. Like other teams, they’ve used the same weight-saving idea and opted for a black based livery instead of their usual striking white. With red undoubtedly still being their primary colour, the team holds on to a energetic feel in their vehicle.
Alfa Romeo continue their determined climb to the top after finishing sixth in the Constructor’s Championship last year, with still a lot of work to be done. With new Sauber group CEO Andreas Seidl leaving his position as McLaren Team Principal in favour of joining the Swiss team, the newly appointed Team Principal Alessandro Alunni Bravi is left to lead the team. This will be Sauber’s final year in the sport before passing the reins to profound manufacturer Audi, who have teased their entrance to Formula 1 for a number of years.
As the team look ahead to 2023, there’s a lot to look forward to this year. It’s all about achieving more and to continue upward towards the front of the grid.
“We need to achieve more, it’s as simple as that. We always need to aim for better and for higher, the whole team and myself included [we] always need to keep improving.”– Valtteri Bottas
Alpha Tauri: AT03
Like sister team Red Bull, Alpha Tauri revealed their car in America under the lights of New York. With their new title sponsor Orlen, it was no surprise to anybody that there was going to be a lot of red hints along with the blue and white colour palette. The logo has been blown out quite considerably with the team name on the nose of the car and on the side. This livery may be heavy on the eyes to look at but it’s a very stand out design.
It will be a return to form at Alpha Tauri after they struggled greatly last year with the new regulations, finishing an uncomfortable ninth overall in the Constructor’s Championship. It was their worst season in a decade but the team are hoping to reverse the mistakes that were made and continue to climb to the midfield.
Alpha Tauri have the most inexperienced driver lineup on the grid this year, with the exception of Yuki Tsunoda whose back in with the team for a third year. Tsunoda needs to show great improvement and become a regular point scoring driver for him to earn another season with the team.
After the departure of race winner Pierrie Gasly, the team had some big shoes to fill. They’ve taken the plunge and signed Nyck de Vries for 2023. De Vries raced with Williams in Monza and on his debut scored points which made him hot property, and so the Italian team decided to snap him up for the new season. It’s fair to say that the two teammates will have to work together and learn from each other to get the team back in the midfield. Can they get back to where they were before?
It’s a milestone year for the papaya team coming into their 60th year of racing. The team have had a lot of successes throughout the years as well as some downfalls. The team have chosen to keep the livery very similar to last year but have incorporated more black this season for weight saving. From the initial reveal, the team didn’t sound very enthusiastic but are going to continue to develop the car throughout the season.
With the departure of Andreas Seidl from the team, it was up to CEO Zak Brown to find a replacement. Brown promoted Andrea Stella to become Team Principal, therefore attempting to fill the shoes of Seidl- and big shoes he fills indeed. With his Ferrari experience, there is no doubt that Stella is the right man for the job.
With the youngest driver pairing this season, it is certainly going to be interesting. Experienced and super fast driver Lando Norris will lead the team for the first time in his five year stint. Norris has a high recognition throughout the paddock and when the tools are there, he delivers highly.
McLaren won the rights over Oscar Piastri for the 2023 season and beyond after a very public tug of war with rival team Alpine for his services. It was down to the contract recognition board to have the final say, but can Piastri live up to the hype? The young Aussie won the Formula 3 and Formula 2 titles in successive seasons like his fellow competitors Charles Leclerc and George Russell did in previous years.
With all change in all areas, is it a new dawn for McLaren?
Aston Martin: AMR23
It was the turn of Aston Martin to reveal their contender, the AMR23. In it’s racing green livery and aggressive design, the British team did not disappoint. Like other teams, Aston Martin are ambitious and keen to seek glory in Formula 1. Team owner Lawrence Stroll has invested heavily in a new factory and new wind tunnel for seasons beyond 2023, to get the team to the front of the grid. With the big rules reset in 2022, the team finished seventh after missing out on crucial points and lots of DNF’s last season. It’s important that the team try and reverse that for the upcoming season.
Fernando Alonso who replaces retiring champion Sebastian Vettel at the team has a lot of experience to help Aston Martin shortcut their way to the front of the grid. As well as this, Alonso has a lot of fighting spirit and the upmost hunger to win. The Spaniard is one of the most demanding drivers on the grid, and surely won’t be happy at the back of the pack.
Lance Stroll will partner up with the Spaniard and together with experience and youth, I’m sure they can further the team’s progress this coming season.
Scuderia Ferrari: SF-23
Ferrari took a very different approach to their car reveal in 2023. They had the reveal and shakedown all in one, getting the drivers’ first thoughts of their new challenger: the SF-23. With it’s classic scarlet red paint job, will it be this time that the Italian team have a winning car?
It could have been a sweet season for the Scuderia. They hit the ground running by mastering the new regulations in 2022 and looked like the team to beat right at the start. Finishing 1-2 in the season opener, followed by a win in Australia it looked like it was finally going to be Ferrari’s year. Unfortunately, the sweet taste became sour as strategy blunders, driver errors and reliability issues started to creep in. This resulted in former team boss Mattia Binotto resigning from his post after 30 years with the team.
Former Team Principal at Alfa Romeo Fredrick Vasseur has stepped up to the plate to lead the Italian team in what hopes to be a successful year. Vasseur has an outstanding record in the junior categories, as well as leading Sauber and Alfa Romeo and having a short stint at Renault. He has been on the motorsport scene for several years.
With Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz back in the cars for 2023, the two drivers have plenty of experience between them and the team themselves have a very talented pairing. With Sainz taking his first pole and win last year in the same weekend and Charles winning 3 races, let’s see if they can go one better and win the championship.
Mercedes AMG: W14
It’s back to black for the Mercedes newest machine the W14, in a new project to help save weight on the car.
After the new regulations were put in place, a new order was reborn and Mercedes were knocked off the top spot. They simply got the car wrong and were way off the pace as Ferrari and Red Bull got the upper hand by getting the regulations right first time round. The team have worked tirelessly to figure out how to fix the porpoising issue that riddled them from the start of the year and by the end, the Silver Arrows seemed a lot more dominant.
The team took their only wins from the Sprint and the main race in Sao Paulo, thanks to their rookie driver George Russell. So after working on the car throughout the 2022 season, will we see a change in Mercedes performance? We’ll find out when they hit the track in pre-season testing.
With a strong lineup of drivers in the likes of Lewis Hamilton chasing his eighth world title and the young driver George Russell with a lot of talent to give, there is hope that the team can reach it’s former glory once again.
The final car reveal was Alpine and like last year, the team launched not just one but two liveries for the 2023 season. An all-pink livery for Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Australia, and their usual blue and pink livery for the rest of the season.
It’s an exciting year for the French outlet, finishing ahead of McLaren in the Constructor’s Championship due to consistently finishing in the top 10. Although, this wasn’t as smooth sailing as they had planned. Alpine suffered with two DNF’s in the first two races and to add to their woes, Alonso seemed to have struggled with reliability issues all season long. In 2023, they’re hoping for a better season and to try and minimise the gap between themselves and the top three teams.
With Alonso announcing over the Summer that he would be leaving to join Aston Martin, along with the loss of their test and reserve driver Oscar Piastri to competitors McLaren, Alpine were left stuck in the mud when finding a new replacement for the vacant seat. The team finally settled with former race winner Pierre Gasly who had convinced Red Bull to drop out of his contract a year earlier than planned. Alongside Esteban Ocon, it’s an all French line up for the team.
It’s well known that the pair’s relationship hasn’t been the greatest over the years, but both parties have insisted that all the disagreements are behind them now. We’re yet to find out if that’s true when they’re both on track together as teammates. Both Frenchmen have been consistent point scorers and proven race winners, so could we see them tasting that champagne once again?
So there you have it. With pre-season testing and the first race just around the corner, who will come out on top? Testing will start on Thursday 23rd February 2023 and I’m super excited for what’s expected to come in the next couple of weeks.
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