It is now two months into the 2022 season, and preparations for the 2023 season are in full swing for both teams and drivers. Revelations of the cars will start from next week, after which the testing days will mark the end of the winter break at the end of February. What is the biggest question mark for each team through 2023?
The fact that everyone should be chasing after Red Bull in 2023 has become a reality after last year. Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez’s team have dominated in 2022 and haven’t given the rest of the teams a chance. Mercedes was just a contender during the second half of the season, while Ferrari mainly cut themselves due to strategic mistakes and reliability problems. But in 2023, everything may be different.
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It won’t be too much to worry about at Red Bull after a season in which he won both championships and won 17 of his 22 races. However, there is already a question mark that even Red Bull is finding it difficult to estimate what impact it will have: a budget cap penalty. After going over the budget cap in 2021, the team is taking a 7% cut for 12 months in 2022. As a result, Red Bull will have to work 63% of its testing time until the end of 2023, while Mercedes (80%) and Ferrari (80%) will have 75%) with an advantage in each course. It will have a fundamental impact in the long term, towards the end of the 2023 season. First and foremost, both competitors already have a gap to make up for at Red Bull, and then they have to get over it. Every development and upgrade should hit the right place for this. However, Red Bull will be more concerned about this in the 2023 season.
There are quite a few unanswered questions about Ferrari. Will the 2023 engine be more reliable than it was in 2022, will strategic mistakes be limited in 2023 and will the car’s pace improve on Sunday? But the bigger question is how quickly Frederic Vasseur, who succeeded Mattia Binotto as manager of the Italian team this month, will get to know his new environment. This must be done very quickly if Ferrari is to contend for the title. It’s a new environment, a new way of working, and new colleagues. A big task for Vasseur, who is more primarily hoping to prevent strategic blunders in 2023 than to cause them.
At Mercedes, the biggest question seemed to be whether the new regulations for porpoises would also have a positive effect on the car’s performance in 2023. This was already the case in 2022. However, a big question mark has arisen since this month: the departure (especially Succession) James Fowles. For years, the Briton has been the strategic mastermind behind the successes of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton. The question now is mainly how the successor will do and whether the strategy will approach the level below Vowles. Ferrari in 2022 was an example of how strategic mistakes can cost you a key shot. Mercedes will want to prevent this.
And then on to the senior team hoping to make a step into the top three in 2023. The bigger question for 2023 will be whether McLaren can keep up with the evolutionary violence of the big three teams, particularly in terms of quality. The team has more testing time and has a championship-worthy driver in Lando Norris, but the question is whether McLaren can give him that too. 2023 will be too early for that, but the main question is whether the team will be able to make that step.
At Alpine, the question mainly revolves around two things: the engine and the drivers. It turns out that Renault’s engine isn’t always reliable in 2022, something Fernando Alonso in particular can confirm. In 2023 it will have to be better and the engine will also have to be more powerful to make a step into the top three realistic. In addition, everyone is wondering how the mutual relationship between Esteban Ocon and newcomer Pierre Gasly will develop during the season. Both drivers claim to have no issues with each other, but in the heat of battle, the driver’s true nature usually comes out. Both drivers will see themselves as the team’s first and want to prove it.
The same question can already be asked at Aston Martin. As a newcomer, Fernando Alonso will probably be the leader right away and will immediately take over the reins within the team as he did at Alpine, something Lance Stroll had tested previously with Sebastian Vettel. The question is how Stroll, who has sometimes been at odds with Vettel, will deal with this and how owner Lawrence Stroll sees this. Aston Martin will need both drivers if it is to beat McLaren and Alpine, let alone challenge the top three teams.
At Alfa Romeo, the main question will be how reliable and powerful the new Ferrari engine will be. It could be the difference between night and day for Alfa Romeo in the midfield, which has at least two drivers with Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu already in the team with experience. It will also have to be seen how the team will deal with Vasseur’s departure and what the consequences will be for the team.
At Haas, the question about the engine is also very relevant, since they also use a Ferrari engine. However, Haas has other concerns. driver duo for example. Kevin Magnussen and newcomer Nico Hulkenberg aren’t exactly best friends, and both drivers will try to impose a leading position during the 2023 season. The question is also whether the relationship with new major sponsor, MoneyGram, will improve compared to its predecessor Rich Energy and Uralkali. Anyway, it’s a fresh start for Haas.
At AlphaTauri, the main question is whether the team can perform better overall in 2023. Gasly’s departure doesn’t help, and the big question now is who will take over the team. Yuki Tsunoda should be the right one, but the question is if he’s capable of it. Nyck de Vries has more racing experience, but less in Formula 1 and with the team in general. Tsunoda will mainly be seen to take the team on one hand.
Finally, Williams, where it will be mainly waiting and seeing how the new technical director and team boss will do and if this will be the beginning of the resurrection. It is possible that Vowles will get the strategic side into Williams pretty quickly, but the question is whether Vowles can quickly learn about the other aspects of being a team boss as well. In addition, it will also be interesting to see how Logan Sargeant fares during his debut year in Formula 1.
Vacancy: Online F1 Editor (Freelance, Part or Full Time)