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  • Writer's pictureBen Waterworth

F1 preseason team power rankings

Welcome to the first edition of the F1 team power rankings for 2023. Each round the teams will be ranked based on form and how their respective performances shape up from what we’ve seen and for what is set to come.

As always with any power rankings, these are subjective and based purely on opinion mixed with results. Are these 100 per cent accurate? Inside my mind, yes! Outside of it, no. But it’s a nice way to spark some discussion, showcase some form and allow a conversation that brings F1 fans closer together – and maybe also further apart at the same time. Fun right? Always!

So without further ado, I present to you the pre-season team power rankings heading into Round 1 in Bahrain this weekend.

10. Williams

While it may seem fairly standard to rank Williams last, there is some definite improvement from the former powerhouse of F1. They completed 439 laps with little to no issues, and Alex Albon praised the car and said it was an improvement from last year. Can they make their way up the grid further in 2023 and improve on their eight points from 2022? Early signs point to a yes.

9. McLaren

Oof. McLaren. What has happened? From a team that only a couple of years ago looked likely to once again challenge at the front, Woking have seemingly remained pretty stagnant based on their 2022 position. Lando Norris did not seem happy during the test, and Aussie Oscar Piastri also seemed to have issues, including a spin, so there’s not much to smile about at McLaren. Several issues around the front wheel brows and aerodynamics also plagued them. McLaren fans will be hoping it was an anomaly that will be fixed ahead of the opening round this weekend.

Oscar Piastri (Photo by Gongora/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

8. AlphaTauri

In the conversation right now over a possible shock sale by Red Bull, AlphaTauri were seemingly just there in Bahrain. They recorded the most laps, with 456, but what else was there to report? There was no real pace from the team, and no real issues either. It was just a test that happened for them. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s also not a good thing either.

7. Haas

It was a solid but unspectacular test by Haas – definitely far removed from 2022, when the American team were the centre of attention. It’s great to see Nico Hulkenberg back out there ahead of his return, and we know Kevin Magnussen is pretty handy at Bahrain, so he could push for points this weekend. But it’s a case of other teams being better placed than them to put them in seventh.

6. Alpine

While the times and pace looked somewhat concerning for the French team, Alpine seemed to be hiding their true performance during testing. Many predict them to be solidly in the hunt for fourth in the championship, and it seems as though they will still be solidly in the higher parts of the midfield. But this is a power ranking based on performance as well as form, and based on their preseason test, sixth is as high up as I could put them.

5. Alfa Romeo

An unheralded star of the preseason test, there was definitely an element of showboating by Alfa Romeo. Soft tyres, low fuel, fast times – sure, it got headlines, but there was also improvement from 2022, and that’s something to work on. Valtteri Bottas looks like a man renewed and is always capable of putting on a strong performance, and Zhou Guanyu also looked extremely comfortable in the C43. It’s a car that could solidly score points and push up even higher.

4. Mercedes

The good news is the porpoising seems to be an issue of the past. Celebrate! But was there enough improvement from the team to return to the fight for the championship? It doesn’t seem so. Team principal Toto Wolff has said there is more to come, and both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell seem to think there is plenty to work on. But the start of the season could be a bit of a struggle to go much further up the grid than they were last season.

3. Aston Martin

The standout team from the test, Aston Martin could finally be about to show off all the investment that has gone into the team since Lawrence Stroll bought the squad in 2018. Fernando Alonso looked like a man reborn in Bahrain, and their consistency and pace could shoot them right up into the fight for podiums and even a win. Of course it’s only preseason testing, and we saw what happened with the team in 2020 when they were in a similar position, but there was a lot of talk around the team’s pace even before the test, so there does seem to be plenty of momentum for the Astib heading into 2023. And let’s not forget a certain Canadian who missed the test is yet to come back into the car, and even Alonso said the team “hurt” without Lance Stroll’s presence in the car. So add him back into the mix with the two-time world champion and you have a team to keep a close eye on this season.

2. Ferrari

Did we see the true pace of Ferrari in Bahrain? Some people have doubts. But if we did, then they are definitely not a match for Red Bull Racing heading into Round 1. However, several of the issues the team had in 2022 seemed to have been sorted, and both Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc had nothing but good things to say about the SF-23. How that translates into the opening part of the season remains to be seen, but every Ferrari fan is hoping it’ll be all good news and not the same old that they have put up with for the last 15 years.

1. Red Bull Racing

A clear number one, Red Bull Racing were the dominant team of testing. Sergio Perez set the overall fastest time of the test, while reigning world champion Max Verstappen set the early pace on the opening day. No reliability issues for the RB19 make for scary signs for the field in 2023, and once again it will be the Austrian team everyone will be chasing heading into another F1 season.

What do you think of these rankings? Do you agree with the positions? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

This article was originally written for The Roar. You can read the published version here


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