Formula One season 2023 opens today with the Bahrain Grand Prix. The schedule this year launches three domestic races and it will be the longest season so far.
More races are lined this year with a record of 23 scheduled races – one more than last year’s 22 – taking place in a number of locations across the globe over the next eight months. In the US, the popularity of Grand Prix continues to grow with Miami Grand Prix scheduled for 7 May, Austin Grand Prix for 22 October and the new Las Vegas Grand Prix on 18 November.
In the Middle East, Qatar Grand Prix in October will be the first major sporting event in the country after last year’s World Cup. Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in the UAE is scheduled for 26 November.
With Sebastian Vettel’s retirement last season major changes across the grid are evident. Fernando Alonso joins Lance Stroll at Aston Martin after his departure from Alpine. Pierre Gasly from AlphaTauri joins Alpine and Formula E champion Nyck de Vries fills the gap at AlphaTauri.
Daniel Ricciardo who has departed to Red Bull and MacLaren has replaced him Oscar Piastri who is still embroiled in contract saga. Haas F1 has replaced Mick Schumacher with Nico Hulkenberg.
The first US driver on the grid since 2015 is Logan Sargeant who is replacing Nicholas Latifi for Williams Racing.
Lance Stroll is expected to race in Bahrain today after his absence due to a cycling accident.
Top teams last season
Red Bull’s dominance was very noticeable throughout last season. The top three teams in 2022 were Red Bull with Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez, Ferrari with Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz and Mercedes with Lewis Hamilton and George Russell. There are no expected changes to their line ups this year.
Last season Verstappen earned his second ‘straight drivers’ title while Hamilton finished sixth. Hamilton, a seven-time champion, ended the season without a win for the first time in his career and finished sixth behind Verstappen, Leclerc, Perez, Russell and Sainz.
Mercedes faced many issues last season and team manager Toto Wolff claimed that it was the cause for the team’s struggle to shine. He explained that this season the team is taking a more cautious approach as it looks to “reclaim the crown it held for eight straight seasons before last year.”
We are changing some of the architecture and the layout of the car that should point us in the right direction. But as it is with these new regulations, sometimes you uncover one problem and then you realize there was another underneath. So we have to be humble and do not feel a sense of entitlement that we are going to get back into this championship and win straight from the get-go.” – Toto Wolff, Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team
Bahrain Grand Prix
The race takes place today at 18.00 Bahrain local time.
What the bookies are saying: Red Bull looks like the winning team this season. Bookies are suggesting that it has an edge over Ferrari and Mercedes. Aston Martin is seen as a dark horse and could potentially challenge Alpine for the ‘best-of-the-rest honours’. McLaren will possibly have a challenge with the launce of MCL60.
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