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23 Burning Inquiries to Ponder for the 2023 F1 Season

23 Burning Inquiries to Ponder for the 2023 F1 Season

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It is 2023, and Method 1 is ready for a 23-race season, together with the debut of the Las Vegas Grand Prix, as Max Verstappen chases a world-championship three-peat.

Autoweek appears at 23 key questions for Method 1 in ’23.

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1

Can Anybody Cease Max Verstappen?

Max Verstappen received extra races in 2022 than some world champions have in whole careers.

A largely super-chilled Verstappen steamrollered the opposition to win his second world title as Crimson Bull opened a efficiency margin at most grands prix. Crimson Bull’s RB18 was a stable platform that advanced towards Verstappen’s pure fashion, that means it will be a shock if the RB19 was something however quick.

Solely 4 drivers in historical past have received three titles in a row—Juan Manuel Fangio, Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel, and Lewis Hamilton—that means Verstappen is searching for to affix distinguished firm if he can pull off a three-peat.

2

What Will Frederic Vasseur Change at Ferrari?

There will probably be a brand new face on the helm of Ferrari this yr after it recruited Frederic Vasseur as staff principal.

Vasseur was employed off the again of his work in junior motorsport and 6 years at Alfa Romeo, however fronting Ferrari’s Method 1 staff is a distinct problem totally. The large query is, what’s going to Vasseur change?

With extra of an outsider’s perspective, he’ll view Maranello with an unclouded set of eyes and will not be afraid to make robust choices. Ferrari’s 2022 wasn’t horrible; in spite of everything, it had a quick automobile, and the anticipated fixes to engine reliability (having pushed for efficiency for 2022) is low-hanging fruit when it comes to improved lap instances. However can Vasseur succeed the place his predecessors didn’t?

3

Will Mercedes Be Again within the Combat?

The Silver Arrows of Mercedes tumbled from gold to bronze in 2022.

The bouncing-and-bucking W13 was revealed to have deeper-rooted aero deficiencies, however there have been inexperienced shoots. Upgrades labored, bringing Mercedes nearer to competition, and it managed to win a race. Mercedes boss Toto Wolff estimated the staff’s early issues left it as much as 10 months behind the event curve, that means the large query is which path it takes with its W14.

Mercedes is extraordinarily efficient as a race staff, has robust reliability, and its driver lineup is great, however can the W14 shake freed from the W13’s deficiencies from the outset?

4

Can F1’s ‘Better of the Relaxation’ Shut the Hole?

This will probably be yr three of Method 1’s price range cap, now decreased to a base of $135 million earlier than myriad exclusions and clauses are utilized. Will probably be yr two of the regulatory cycle.

The have-nots are gaining on the haves when it comes to infrastructure, however for some groups excuses will probably be operating thinner than earlier than.

Method 1’s “massive three” grabbed all of the victories in 2022, whereas solely McLaren’s Lando Norris (pictured, left) was the one driver exterior of Crimson Bull, Ferrari, and Mercedes to attain a lot as a single podium place.

That should change in 2023.

5

Who Emerges as F1’s Quickest Frenchman?

Two youngsters who grew up collectively battling on a kart observe simply exterior of Rouen, France, will line up subsequent to one another within the Alpine storage this yr.

Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly are the identical age, have one F1 win apiece, and have each bounced again from varied setbacks throughout their careers. They don’t seem to be one of the best of associates however have been swift to emphasise that pundits have blown their rivalry out of proportion, they usually know optimistic collaboration is a should.

Ocon’s three seasons with Alpine ought to carry him an preliminary benefit, however the dynamic between F1’s quick Frenchmen will probably be an interesting subplot all through 2023.

6

Can McLaren Rookie Oscar Piastri Ship on the Hype?

When Alpine wished to mortgage teen Oscar Piastri out to Williams for 2 years, his administration took umbrage and sought employment elsewhere. He landed at McLaren.

The back-to-back F3 and F2 champion now has his shot at a midfield staff, one which has medium-term title ambitions; he’ll compete alongside Lando Norris, whose glorious performances contributed to Daniel Ricciardo’s downfall.

Piastri can take inspiration from Norris, who debuted with McLaren earlier than establishing his credentials, however there will probably be strain on the 21-year-old Australian to show why the staff was so eager to safe his signature.

7

How Will Alonso Fare at Aston Martin?

Fernando Alonso will probably be 42 this yr and is now essentially the most skilled Method 1 driver in historical past, however there isn’t a signal that his fierce rage to succeed has dimmed.

No matter “El Plan” was is now over, and Alonso has made his method to Aston Martin for his subsequent multiyear venture. Aston Martin has endured a lean few years, however Lawrence Stroll has grand ambitions for a staff now coming into the subsequent stage of its five-year plan.

The main focus stays on 2024 and past, when the soon-to-be-finished new manufacturing facility could have a tangible affect, however Alonso will nonetheless give ten-tenths each lap in 2023 and can count on Aston Martin to equal his dedication.

8

How Will Andreas Seidl Change Sauber?

Sauber—nonetheless competing as Alfa Romeo for now—will have already got 2026 firmly in thoughts. That is when it would change into Audi’s strategic accomplice in Method 1.

It nonetheless has three seasons to navigate earlier than that time, and after his exit from McLaren it’s Andreas Seidl in cost at Sauber Motorsport. There may be little doubt that Seidl’s hiring has been undertaken with the Audi tie-up in thoughts, and his early begin means planning can start for the long run.

First up is the query of who CEO Seidl will recruit as Alfa Romeo’s new staff principal, with the 2 roles having been break up following Frederic Vasseur’s exit.

9

Can Haas F1 Group Obtain Desired Consistency?

Haas achieved its fundamental goal in 2022, which was to reestablish itself within the midfield after its 2019-20 demise and predetermined 2021 write-off.

Its subsequent ambition is to stabilize its shows after a rollercoaster season that included a few shock outcomes and a handful of dismal outings, because the VF-22’s efficiency fluctuated.

Becoming a member of 2022’s comeback child, Kevin Magnussen, will probably be Nico Hulkenberg, a veteran of Method 1’s midfield who hasn’t raced full time since 2019. The staff ought to have sufficient, significantly with the arrival of title accomplice MoneyGram, to purpose for factors at each race.

10

Can AlphaTauri Kids Proceed Growing?

AlphaTauri staff principal Franz Tost believes younger drivers want three years earlier than a full judgment may be delivered—and 2023 will probably be season three for Yuki Tsunoda, so it is crunch time. The amiable Japanese driver is common however must step up this yr, significantly amid the arrival of Nyck de Vries instead of Pierre Gasly.

De Vries (pictured) has a breadth of motorsport expertise, however Method 1 is completely different gravy—as a non-Crimson Bull athlete, his signing was surprising and one in every of Helmut Marko’s gambles. If it does not repay, then he and Tsunoda want solely take a look at the variety of Crimson Bull juniors in Method 2 (and Tremendous Method’s Liam Lawson) who could possibly be Marko’s subsequent gamble in the event that they shine in 2023.

11

What Would a Good Rookie Season Look Like for Logan Sargeant?

Expectations shouldn’t be raised too loftily for America’s first Method 1 driver since 2015.

Logan Sargeant had a stable, if not excellent, sole yr in Method 2 in 2022, and Williams promoted him for 2023 partly primarily based off the considering he could as effectively proceed his studying within the prime division. As such, 2023 is more likely to function a good few journeys to the varsity of laborious knocks, significantly given Williams’ latest historical past.

If Williams stays in its present place, then a handful of Q2 appearances, and maybe a smattering of lowly factors finishes, would signify a affluent rookie marketing campaign for Sargeant.

12

Can Williams Carry Itself Off the Backside?

Somebody has to complete final in a 10-team championship. however in recent times Williams has made a nasty behavior of occupying the slot, taking it 4 instances in 5 seasons.

Proprietor Dorilton Capital duly parted firm with CEO Jost Capito and technical director FX Demaison. The quirky Capito had been tasked with revitalizing Williams and met with some resistance alongside the best way, whereas sources have been switched to 2023 when it was realized Williams had no hope of avoiding the wood spoon.

On the time of this writing, Williams stays and not using a staff boss and technical chief—two gaping holes on the prime of the administration construction. It’s tough to envisage something aside from one other difficult season.

13

How Will Miami Grand Prix Fare in Yr 2?

Miami joined Method 1’s calendar in 2022 amid a plethora of pizzazz and a VIP listing that outdid the championship’s conventional top-tier occasions. Miami now faces the tough second act.

Can it replicate the success of its 2022 occasion?

The novelty could have worn off whereas the destructive facets neglected amid the same old first-year teething troubles will probably be extra scrutinized if they’re repeated. However, there are robust foundations on which to construct, and the promoters at Laborious Rock Stadium are well-versed in evolving main occasions.

14

Can Belgium Safe a Keep of Execution?

Belgium’s Spa-Francorchamps is amongst Method 1’s most commemorated venues, however its future is shrouded in uncertainty.

At its 2022 occasion a contract extension was introduced, however just for a single yr, with the grand prix now positioned within the pre-summer moderately than post-summer spherical. Method 1 stays eager to safe a race on each liveable continent, and talks have taken place with officers in South Africa over a renaissance for Kyalami.

That wasn’t attainable for 2023, successfully giving Belgium a short-term reprieve, however F1 will little doubt attempt once more for 2024. That might spell dangerous information for Spa-Francorchamps.

15

Will F1 Rekindle Its Relationship with China

Not in 2023—however whether or not it reappears on the calendar in 2024, by which period 5 years could have handed because the championship graced China’s soil.

Method 1 scheduled a grand prix in China for April 2023, nevertheless it was cancelled amid the nation’s Covid Zero coverage, a method which has since been swiftly relaxed, with dire penalties for the nation.

By 2024 the scenario is more likely to have improved, and authoritarian regimes are massive followers of state promotion via sport, whereas Method 1 itself nonetheless has a three-year deal to run a Chinese language Grand Prix. Groups had beforehand regarded China as a blossoming market to discover, and it is going to be intriguing to see whether or not the nation continues to be a lovely proposition.

16

Will Las Vegas Dwell As much as the Hype?

Method 1 is heading to Las Vegas this yr. You will have heard. It’s Liberty Media’s crowning glory, the occasion it has craved for years, with Method 1 set to really flip the Strip right into a racetrack.

At night time. The Saturday 10 p.m. PT begin time (1 a.m. ET) is uncommon, and a few ticket packages are hysterically costly and for these with extra money than sense, however there isn’t a doubt Method 1 is attempting to achieve new heights.

There could also be parallels to Miami: As a race it could possibly be so-so, given it’s a avenue observe, however as an occasion it’s Method 1’s model of the Tremendous Bowl, and the VIP listing is more likely to be extra of a ebook.

17

What Will Qatar Carry to F1?

Qatar has simply completed internet hosting the weirdest soccer World Cup in historical past, constructed at excessive monetary and human price, with Lionel Messi and Argentina victorious in essentially the most epic of finals.

Its consideration now turns towards Method 1. Qatar has a long-term contract, becoming a member of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Abu Dhabi as host international locations within the area, and no expense will probably be spared. This would possibly not be Qatar’s first Method 1 dance, because it hosted a 2021 spherical on brief discover as Australia’s substitute, however 2023 really marks the beginning of the nation’s affiliation with the championship.

Tentative plans for a Doha avenue race went quiet, and as a substitute Qatar is upgrading the everlasting Lusail facility to accommodate Method 1 long run. Drivers loved the quick and technical observe—and its choice as a Dash venue provides one other aspect to the night time race.

Will it present the flicker?

18

Will Andretti Get His Group? If So, When?

It has been nearly a yr since Michael Andretti, via father Mario, revealed plans to enter a staff into Method 1 in 2024. That timeframe has now been shifted to 2026, however it’s important Andretti has fashioned a partnership with Normal Motors as a way to carry its Cadillac model to Method 1.

Building on Andretti’s massive facility in Indiana is underway; it would home the household’s increasing motorsport portfolio, of which Method 1 would be the centerpiece. The FIA has welcomed the Andretti-Cadillac proposal, however Method 1 stays lukewarm to the venture amid the need to retain the 10-team mannequin.

19

Will Porsche, or Anybody Else, Be part of Audi?

Audi’s entry in 2026 was a giant coup for Method 1, nevertheless it was solely half of the story it initially anticipated.

Audi sister model Porsche held prolonged discussions with Crimson Bull, however they collapsed amid management points. Porsche says it stays however with whom and the way are two questions the German big has but to reply as time ticks on. Honda, which famously left Method 1 however by no means really really departed, continues to go away the door open for 2026.

Method 1’s latest progress, and continued emergence within the U.S., means it will be little shock if different producers—or rich consortiums—expressed curiosity too.

20

Which Exiled F1 Drivers or Kids Will Discover Path to F1?

Daniel Ricciardo has rejoined Crimson Bull in a third-driver capability, whereas Mick Schumacher is Mercedes’ reserve, and each have stated they regard Method 1 as unfinished enterprise.

Then there are the likes of final yr’s Method 2 prime two—Felipe Drugovich and Théo Pourchaire—who’ve backup roles at Aston Martin and Alfa Romeo, respectively.

Behind them are a brand new crop of kids within the cauldron of Method 2 striving to face out to Method 1’s decision-makers. There are inadequate seats for all of them—as is the best way on a grid of solely 20 vehicles—however will foolish season unfold in a such a way as to current any of them with a possibility?

21

What’s Subsequent for Dash Qualifying?

Dash is coming into its third yr, and F1 continues to hone the idea.

For 2023, Dash’s presence has been doubled as a function at six grands prix, together with the U.S. spherical in Austin. There was speak that Dash could possibly be break up right into a standalone race, separate from the grand prix, however the format stays because it was in 2022.

It’s undoubtedly right here to remain, so the place will Method 1 subsequent take Dash? Does Method 1 separate it totally from Sunday’s fundamental affair? Does it keep at six occasions or proceed to develop? And, in an increasing calendar, when will a saturation level be reached when it comes to precise racing?

22

Will Modifications in Tire Guidelines Have an Affect?

One rule change quietly slipped into the 2023 rules is delicate but intriguing.

At two grands prix this yr—the areas but to be introduced—the foundations for qualifying have been amended. At these pair of rounds (whether it is dry) drivers should use solely the laborious tire compound in Q1, the medium in Q2, and the comfortable for the Q3 pole shootout.

How every automobile makes use of its tires when it comes to warmup and an optimum working window can range, and it’s an actual science that groups should fastidiously handle, whereas drivers must swiftly adapt to operating completely different compounds on an evolving racetrack.

May it result in some front-runners slipping up, or conversely might it hand a possibility to lesser groups?

23

Is the Relationship Between F1 and the FIA about to Change?

Mohammed Ben Sulayem (pictured, left) is within the second yr of his first four-year time period because the FIA’s president, and he has undoubtedly been a extra assertive and distinguished presence in comparison with predecessor Jean Todt.

That has, at instances, precipitated friction with Method 1 and its CEO, Stefano Domenicali (pictured, proper).

Final yr, there have been a handful of disagreements, together with over Dash (and its related prices), the jewellery ban, and the best way the 2026 engine regulation discussions dragged on.

The place the foremost representatives place themselves politically via 2023 will probably be fascinating to observe.

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