What are the points of attention for the new F1 season 2023, after the pre-season tests in Bahrain? First of all, of course, the reigning world champion of Red Bull Max Verstappen, who is aiming for a third consecutive world title in Formula 1. In addition, the Max’ are rivals at Ferrari, which has a new boss. And with Las Vegas, a third race in the United States will add to the F1 circus this season. Can seven-time Mercedes world champion Lewis Hamilton add to his record 103 F1 wins? All are talking points ahead of the new 2023 season, which kicks off next weekend March 5 in Bahrain. Alan Baldwin of GrandPrix247 explained it point by point:
1) Max Verstappen will start as favorite for a third consecutive title. The Dutch driver won 15 races last year. How much can he take this time? And can his teammate at Red Bull, Sergio Perez, get closer to him?
2) Four of the 10 teams have had a new ‘captain’ since 2022: Fred Vasseur replaced Mattia Binotto at Ferrari and came from Sauber/Alfa Romeo in January. McLaren’s Andreas Seidl has joined Sauber and appointed Alessandro Alunni Bravo to what is effectively a main team role. At McLaren, Andrea Stella is now team principal and James Vowles has moved from a strategic role at Mercedes to team principal at Williams.
3) Can Vasseur bring a title to Maranello for the first time since the 2008 Constructors’ Championship? The Frenchman’s arrival has drawn comparisons to compatriot Jean Todt, who led the team through a golden era with Michael Schumacher in the early 2000s.
4) There are three rookies on the grid. Australian Oscar Piastri joined McLaren in controversial circumstances following a contract dispute with Alpine, while Nyck de Vries replaced Pierre Gasly (now with Alpine) at Red Bull-owned AlphaTauri. Logan Sargeant, meanwhile, will make his Williams debut as the first United States Grand Prix driver since Alexander Rossi in 2015.
5) Seniors on the grid. Nico Hülkenberg begins his return to Haas. It’s his first full F1 season since 2019, with the German still chasing his first podium after 179 starts. Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso, now 41, and Hamilton, 38, are the oldest drivers. Can one of them become the first driver to win a race after reaching the milestone of 300 starts? Alonso made 355, Hamilton 310.
6) Las Vegas promises to be the big, brutal event of the year with a Saturday night race in November on “The Strip” as the penultimate round of the 2023 season and the “hype in overdrive”! The popularity of Formula 1 in America is increasing mainly thanks to the Netflix series “Drive to Survive”.
7) Andretti Cadillac aims to become the 11th team on the grid from 2026. Will the Formula 1 community allow it?
8) mercedes, champion eight years in a row, had a difficult 2022 with a “porpoise” car, which proved to be difficult to handle. Can they close the gap with Red Bull and Ferrari?
9) The contract of Lewis Hamilton expires at the end of 2023 and talks for a new contract have begun. He will be regularly questioned on this subject.
ten) Fernando Alonso swapped Alpine’s blue for Aston Martin’s green for 2023. The Spaniard wasn’t always happy with his picks for any particular team. Has he made the right choice now?
11) Alpine finished fourth in the 2022 Constructors’ Championship. Not bad at all. Will it go as well in 2023, with two French strawberries as the driver combination? The two French fanatics have already been warned in advance by their team management, will things go well?
12) The ruling FIA has changed the rules for drivers making political, personal and religious statements. How are they and the stewards reacting?
13) How is Daniel Ricciardo? Has he left the grid for good or will he return in 2024 after signing up as a Red Bull reserve? It will be hard to run for the happy Aussie!
Enough things to follow in 2023, it still promises an exciting Formula 1 season become!
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