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2023 F1 Season Preview: 5 Drivers To Watch

Buckle in for an exhilarating ride — the 2023 Formula One season gets underway this weekend.

With new regulations and fresh talent on the grid, this year is shaping up to be a classic. Here's a look ahead to the action, along with five drivers to keep an eye on...

F1 2023 Season preview

What's New: 2023 F1 Rule Changes

The 2023 F1 season will see several rule changes, the most notable including adjustments to ride height and diffusers, stronger roll hoops, and revised mirrors to improve driver visibility. The minimum car weight will be reduced to 796kg, and the number of sprint events will double to six. 

The 2023 F1 Grand Prix Calendar

  • 5 March: Bahrain
  • 19 March: Saudi Arabia
  • 2 April: Australia
  • 30 April: Azerbaijan
  • 7 May: USA (Miami)
  • 21 May: Italy (Del'Emilia-Romagna)
  • 28 May: Monaco
  • 4 June: Spain
  • 18 June: Canada
  • 2 July: Austria
  • 9 July: Great Britain
  • 23 July: Hungary
  • 30 July: Belgium
  • 27 August: Netherlands
  • 3 September: Italy (Monza)
  • 17 September: Singapore
  • 24 September: Japan
  • 8 October: Qatar
  • 22 October: USA (Austin)
  • 29 October: Mexico
  • 5 November: Brazil
  • 18 November: USA (Las Vegas)
  • 26 November: Abu Dhabi

The Drivers: 5 F1 Stars To Watch In 2023

We’ll be watching these five drivers with interest in the coming months…

The Favourite: Max Verstappen

Red Bull coped with last season's rule changes — which included a 'ground effect' floor that kept the car closer to the tarmac and a simplified front wing — far better than any other team, allowing lead driver Verstappen to cruise to his second F1 title. The consensus is that Red Bull came out on top in last week's pre-season testing too; even Ferrari's Charles Leclerc begrudgingly admitted they looked "very strong". So with the best car, and the experience of being a double world champion, star driver Verstappen will take some beating.

The Nearly Man: Charles Leclerc

2022 started so well for the Ferrari driver, with two victories in the first three races, including the season opener in Bahrain. But a combination of mistakes, strategic errors and car reliability ultimately put pay to his championship hopes. This year Ferrari has a new team principal — Fred Vasseur (formerly of Alfa Romeo) — and the passionate fanbase will, as ever, have sky-high expectations. Can Leclerc cope with the pressure?

Mr Consistency: George Russell

While last season may have been a disaster for Mercedes, who slipped behind Ferrari in the team rankings, George Russell can certainly hold his head up high. The 25-year-old from King's Lynn earned his maiden Grand Prix win, holding off Max Verstappen to top the podium in Brazil, and finished in the top five in all but three races. He even finished above teammate Lewis Hamilton in the Drivers' Championship. With an improved car in 2023, there's no doubt he'll add to his tally of wins.

The Comeback King: Lewis Hamilton

2022 is not a year the greatest driver of all time will look back on with relish. But it seems as though Mercedes has ironed out some of the problems that affected his car throughout the season; after testing last week, Hamilton said: "The bouncing that we had has pretty much gone. That's a huge step for us. It's nice to drive it without the bouncing in the corners. But there are still some underlying things that we are working through." 

If the team can sort out their issues, there's every chance the seven-time world champion can give Verstappen a run for his money.

The Dark Horse: Fernando Alonso

Most of the analysis from pre-season testing suggests that Aston Martin has made more gains than any other team. Veteran Alonso fared exceptionally during his race simulation; his average lap times from the opening stint were similar to Ferrari's Carlos Sainz. With Aston Martin now led by former Red Bull technical director Dan Fallows, expectations are high. And the ultra-competitive Alonso will be eyeing a series of podium finishes. 

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