With only two rounds remaining of the 2023 F1 Season, just who is in the running for the World Championship?
No no no. Not THE World Championship we all know was won and done by Max Verstappen the moment he put on his race suit for the first time in 2023.
I’m talking about the alternative F1 Championship. The one in which all us die hard F1 fans are eagerly awaiting to see just who would come out on top if both Red Bull cars were stripped of all results this season and everything else fell into play the same without them.
(Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Given we head into a brand new race this weekend in Las Vegas (making it a tad tricky for me to bring you the top 5 races at that circuit), I thought it was a perfect time to revisit my article from a month ago where I worked out just who would be leading the Championship in the scenario with no Red Bull cars in the Championship.
That article was done prior to the Qatar Grand Prix and at that stage we had seven drivers all within a chance for the Championship, with Fernando Alonso holding a slender five point advantage over Lewis Hamilton at the top and Carlos Sainz, Charles Leclerc, George Russell, Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri all within a mathematical chance of winning the 2023 World Championship.
Four races later (with three sprint weekends thrown in for good measure), there are now only four drivers remaining in the hunt for the title, with the alternative F1 2023 Championship looking like this ahead of Las Vegas:
1st – Lewis Hamilton – 314pts
2nd – Fernando Alonso – 298pts
3rd – Carlos Sainz Jr – 271pts
4th – Lando Norris – 262pts
5th – Charles Leclerc – 239pts
6th – George Russell – 222pts
7th – Oscar Piastri – 139pts
8th – Lance Stroll – 112pts
9th – Pierre Gasly – 105pts
10th – Esteban Ocon – 83pts
11th – Alexander Albon – 64pts
12th – Yuki Tsunoda – 39pts
13th – Valtteri Bottas – 29pts
14th – Nico Hulkenberg – 20pts
15th – Zhou Guanyu – 18pts
16th – Kevin Magnussen – 12pts
17th – Daniel Ricciardo – 10pts
=18th – Liam Lawson – 9pts
=18th – Logan Sargeant – 9pts
20th – Nyck de Vries – 0pts
(Photo by Michael Potts/BSR Agency/Getty Images)
Sadly for Charles Leclerc, George Russell and Oscar Piastri, they have been eliminated from contention. And while Lando Norris is within a mathematical chance of winning, he would need to win the last two races of the season with the fastest lap and have Lewis Hamilton not score a single point and have Fernando Alonso score less than 16 points to claim the title. Which leaves three realistic shots: Hamilton, Alonso and Sainz.
Hamilton has taken the lead in the alternative championship despite a few tricky races. His win in the USA helped him greatly, as well as some various points in the other races. Alonso fell back with two scoreless races in the USA and Mexico, although a second place in Brazil helped him stay in the hunt and sit only 16 points behind Hamilton with two races remaining.
Sainz was the most consistent of the three title rivals in the last four races with two podiums, but no wins has seen him fall back slightly and sit 43 points behind Hamilton, meaning that he would need to outscore Lewis by more than 18 points and Alonso by 3 to remain in the hunt heading into the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Of the four races since my last article, three of them were won by McLaren, with two going to Norris and Oscar Piastri winning his first ever Grand Prix in Qatar. Amazingly that would give McLaren the equal most wins in season 2023 alongside with Aston Martin with six, with Norris second on the season tally of wins with five behind Alonso who has six. Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton sit with three for the season, showing their consistency across the season.
Which then brings me to the alternative Constructor’s Championship.
Last time around, five teams could still win the title mathematically: Mercedes, Ferrari, Aston Martin, McLaren and Alpine.
(Photo by Hasan Bratic/picture alliance via Getty Images)
With two races remaining, this is what the standings look like:
1st – Mercedes – 536pts
2nd – Ferrari – 510pts
3rd – Aston Martin – 410pts
4th – McLaren – 401pts
5th – Alpine – 188pts
6th – Williams – 73pts
7th – AlphaTauri – 58pts
8th – Alfa Romeo – 47pts
9th – Haas – 32pts
It’s goodbye to Aston Martin, McLaren and Alpine in the title hunt leaving the battle to be between both Ferrari and Mercedes for the Constructors Championship.
It’s an interesting scenario given that in the Championship Ferrari haven’t won a race since Singapore and Mercedes have only won three all season, once again showing the consistency of both teams and that neither haven’t relied on wins to get them into that position.
And it’s also interesting to note the form team of the second half of the season, McLaren, would be absolutely ruing their disastrous start to the season given that all six of their wins in 2023 have come from the last 11 races.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, AlphaTauri have vaulted themselves off the bottom of the table with a strong set of races, going from 28 points after Japan to 58 points after Brazil to sit only 15 points behind Williams in sixth. Haas meanwhile drop to last, having only added four points in the last four races.
Again, this is a pure fantasy. Yes, if Red Bull were removed from the 2023 season, everything would’ve happened extremely differently. But it’s a fun scenario to imagine the ‘what if situation’ had things been the same yet different.
Which begs the question heading into the final two rounds of the Championship: who will win the 2023 F1 alternative title?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
This article was originally written for The Roar. You can read the published version here