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  • Writer's pictureBen Waterworth

Formula 1 season 2023: The top two look set in stone, Aston Martin to challenge

Updated: Mar 12, 2023

After months of waiting. Months of patience. Months of counting down the days. The time has finally come for sports fans to get excited about the return of what we’ve all been waiting for.


That’s right. It’s back.


Formula 1.


In what is actually a fairly short off-season compared to what it used to be, all 20 cars are set for another global season, starting off in Bahrain this weekend.


It has been one of the more calm off-seasons in recent memory, with few talking points and little to make us believe that there will be too much difference between last season and 2023.


The second year of the new ground effect cars was always going to be a more fascinating one than the first, with teams getting further to grips with the concept. And while we didn’t see the massive shake up in order and racing that we all hoped for in 2022, this season shapes as perhaps a true reflection of what these cars can bring to the F1 world.


Max Verstappen. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)


But will that mean better racing? Tighter battles? More teams challenging?


Doubtful.


From what we have seen so far, Red Bull are once again the team to beat. Max Verstappen is gunning for a third consecutive Championship and based on testing, it’s his to lose. There is a confidence around the Dutchman that continues to grow, and you would be a brave person to bet against him achieving a feat that only four other drivers have ever managed to complete.


Ferrari were solid in testing, but nothing amazing to the point where you feel much will be different from 2022. Reliability issues seem to have been sorted, and the whisper around the paddock is that their engine deficiency issues to Red Bull has also been solved.


Mercedes have been okay in testing, with several of their 2022 issues now under control. Lewis Hamilton and George Russell are probably happy that the only porpoising they will be seeing will take place on a trip to Sea World. But it wasn’t a perfect test for them in Bahrain, with many doubting their ability to sneak back up the order to fight Red Bull & Ferrari for the Championship.


Lewis Hamilton is looking to bounce back in 2023. (Photo by Michael Potts/BSR Agency/Getty Images)


Perhaps the biggest talking point in the off-season was Aston Martin. The team had an awe around them heading into the solitary Bahrain test based off simulation times before hitting the track, and they delivered for the most part. Fernando Alonso is clearly a man renewed at the ripe old age of 41, and the two-time World Champion may have finally made a smart team-swap decision.


As for the rest of the grid, it’s definitely another interesting year ahead. Haas Team Principal and Netflix superstar Guenther Steiner said during the week that there isn’t a F1 midfield anymore, “it’s the top three then the rest”. And based on recent seasons, he isn’t wrong.


If Aston can creep into the top three and fight with Mercedes, it might be different. The last three seasons have seen three different teams finish in 4th place in the Constructors Championship, showing just how tight it can be. And even the recent ‘slowest’ team of Williams have improved enough to push other teams around them. Who knows how things will play out in 2023.


It’s also a big year for the future of the sport, with three rookies on the grid (including the much hyped Aussie Oscar Piastri) and a brand new race in Las Vegas set to showcase the sport to the world even further. Having American Logan Sargeant in the field adds to this hype, as the sport makes a massive impact in the United States.


No matter how you look at the year ahead, it is set to be an exciting and action packed season that as always, will keep F1 fans on the edge of their seats.


Bring on Bahrain!


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


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