The 2023 Formula One season is just around the corner. The new campaign begins on March 5th, with Bahrain hosting this year’s curtain raiser.
Last year, Charles Leclerc led home a Ferrari one-two in the desert, and the Scuderia will be hoping for a similar performance this time. There is one man to beat, but that is Max Verstappen.
Last season, Super Max won 17 of the 22 races on the calendar, romping to the title by a whopping 146 points.
Ferrari and Mercedes aim to close the gap between themselves and Red Bull this year. But it is Verstappen and co.
Who are the ones to beat? With the new campaign just around the corner, let’s look at the 20 drivers that will battle it out for the championship this season.
Ferrari – Charles Leclerc & Carlos Sainz
The Scuderia returned to winning ways last season. However, their campaign could have amounted to so much more had it not been for poor strategy calls and reliability issues.
As such, they have replaced Mattia Binotto with Frederic Vasseur.
If he can get things right from the pit wall, we wouldn’t bet against his Monegasque-led driver picking up his maiden championship come November.
Mercedes – Lewis Hamilton & George Russell
Mercedes are also unchanged from last season. They, too, have brought in a new third driver, and former Haas driver Mick Schumacher will be hoping for an opportunity.
Last season, the Silver Arrows started the campaign with a one-second per lap pace deficit to the leading Red Bulls and Ferraris.
Their pace improved throughout the campaign’s second half, and they hope to build on their strong finish to last season.
Alpine – Pierre Gasly & Esteban Ocon
Alpine had an impressive season last year. They finished fourth in the championship and even managed a fourth-place finish in Japan.
They brought Pierre Gasly from Toro Rosso to replace the outgoing Fernando Alonso. Alpine has gone for an all-French line-up, which makes sense as the team is French.
Gasly and Ocon have victories under their belt and will be hoping for another in 2023.
Red Bull – Max Verstappen & Sergio Perez
You don’t change a winning formula. That’s what Red Bull team principal Christian Horner thinks, anyway.
His driver pairing is unchanged from last season when his team picked up their first constructors’ championship in a decade.
Following his record-breaking year last year, Formula one free offers, which compares Formula One odds and free offers, has made the Flying Dutchman the favorite to make it to three championships on the spin.
Daniel Ricciardo has returned to the team as the third driver, and you can expect him to be thrown into the hot seat should Perez disappoint.
McLaren – Lando Norris & Oscar Piastri
Daniel Ricciardo and McLaren endured a bitter divorce last season, a divorce which resulted in Ricciardo leaving the team a year earlier than expected.
He has been replaced with another Aussie, the highly-rated Oscar Piastri. The 21-year-old has both F2 and F3 championships and will aim to impress this term again.
Alfa Romeo – Valtteri Bottas & Zhou Guanyu
Alfa Romeo is unchanged from last season, and they hope Valtteri Bottas can lead them toward the front of the midfield.
They have replaced their Ferrari-bound team principal with two new members of staff.
Andreas Seidl has been brought in as chief executive, while Alessandro Alunni Bravi has taken on the role of Team Representative.
Aston Martin – Fernando Alonso & Lance Stroll
Fernando Alonso stunned the rest of the paddock last season when he announced that he was leaving Alpine for Aston Martin.
Alpine had produced a highly competitive car last term, and their Spanish two-time world champion took full advantage, leading them to fourth in the championship. He only finished outside the points twice, and many expected him to keep leading the team forward.
However, he endured a tumultuous relationship with teammate Esteban Ocon, and it seems that the French team took the side of their driver. Alpine’s loss is Aston Martin’s gain, and they will hope that Alonso can continue in the same vain this year.
Haas – Kevin Magnussen & Nico Hülkenberg
Guenther Steiner’s Haas team came on leaps and bounds last season. In 2021, they couldn’t manage a point all season, but last term Kavin Magnussen secured points finishes in three of the first four races.
Mick Schumacher never really set the world alight during his two years with the team, and, as such, he has been replaced with experienced German driver Nico Hülkenberg.
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Magnussen and his new teammate have had clashes in the past, and it will be interesting to see how these two get along.
AlphaTauri – Nyck de Vries & Yuki Tsunoda
The third Italian team on the grid, AlphaTauri, has replaced the outgoing Pierre Gasly with the highly-rated Nyck de Vries.
The talented Dutchman impressed in his cameo with Williams last season when he finished ninth at the Italian Grand Prix. They hope he can fill the rather large shoes of their former French driver, who won at the same circuit for AlphaTauri in 2021.
Yuki Tsunoda endured another difficult campaign last year, and one has to wonder how many more chances the Japanese driver will get.
Williams – Alexander Albon & Logan Sargeant
Alexander Albon was impressed on his return to the grid last season and picked up three points finishes in his Williams.
Nicholas Latifi, however, became somewhat of a meme throughout the campaign, and he has been axed.
His replacement is Logan Sargeant, the only American driver on the grid and the first driver born in the United States to feature in Formula One since Alexander Rossi. He drove for Marussia back in 2015.