The longest season in Components 1 historical past begins this weekend with the Bahrain Grand Prix.
With the Netflix present ‘Drive to Survive’ being a catalyst to an enormous wave of curiosity within the sport around the globe, the twenty vehicles and drivers descend upon the Sakhir circuit to kickstart the season.
The ten groups have already been in Bahrain for 3 days of pre-season testing, giving us some early indicators into who’s sizzling and who’s not as we head into the primary race.
The outcomes from these take a look at days include a caveat because the groups are all the time reluctant to point out their true type to their rivals. This gamesmanship implies that the precise image will solely emerge throughout Sunday’s Grand Prix.
It should be very onerous to look past Max Verstappen and Purple Bull because the favourites, heading into the 2023 season.
As a driver, I assumed that Max raised his sport in 2022 to a brand new degree the place there actually was a calmness and a methodical strategy we hadn’t seen from him earlier than.
From once I noticed him race in Components 3, it was abundantly clear that this man is without doubt one of the most gifted drivers on the planet, however he is now added expertise and the boldness that world championship success brings.
The Purple Bull RB19 has seemed ominously quick in testing with each Verstappen and team-mate Sergio Perez exuding an interior confidence.
The crew has stability on the driving force and technical entrance, with Christian Horner on the helm and the design genius Adrian Newey as motivated for achievement as he was 31 years in the past when his automobile first received a World Championship.
Mercedes as soon as once more head into the season with the very best driver line-up on the grid. It has two race winners on its books, and the interior concord that it lacked through the Nico Rosberg/Lewis Hamilton period.
They’d a tough season final yr, ending means behind Purple Bull however appear extra optimistic that this yr’s W14 is a good step ahead. Pre-season testing wasn’t utterly clean and so they could properly begin the yr because the third greatest crew.
George Russell was one of many stars of the final season. He scored extra factors that Lewis in his first yr with the crew and in addition took his maiden F1 victory in Brazil. However Lewis goes to be hungry for that eighth title.
In relation to persistently producing race performances week in, week out, I nonetheless imagine that Lewis, Max Verstappen and Fernando Alonso, are actually those within the A+ league.
Ferrari had a season, which began brilliantly final yr, however the problem petered out because the crew and drivers each made errors and the Purple Bull automobile obtained stronger by way of in-season growth.
Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz are each very quick, clever and onerous working drivers. If they’ve the instruments and construction from the crew, they will ship victories.
There is not any doubt that wherever we go on the F1 tour, there’s nonetheless an enormous military of Ferrari Tifosi who come out to cheer their beloved crimson vehicles. It has been 15 years because the crew final received a driver’s World Championship and persistence is beginning to run skinny even with the loyal fanbase.
The large change at Maranello over the winter has been the alternative of crew boss Mattia Binotto with Frederic Vasseur, who makes the transfer over from Sauber.
Being the crew boss of Ferrari is probably the most high-pressured job in F1. I’ve identified Frederic for a very long time since his GP2 days and he is a fairly unflappable character, which is strictly what is required.
He is a troublesome taskmaster, too, and it will likely be fascinating to see how a lot and the way shortly he is capable of exert his affect on the crew.
The midfield crew to observe in my view is Aston Martin. Workforce proprietor Lawrence Stroll has been on an aggressive recruitment drive for the previous two years and the fruits of that enlargement must be evident this yr.
The squad actually appeared out of place final season compared to the place I anticipated it to be and to this point in testing, the automobile has seemed very quick within the fingers of their new signing Fernando Alonso.
The double world champion could also be 41-years previous, however is exhibiting all of the power and motivation of somebody half his age. In reality, with the 21 yr previous Oscar Piastri driving for McLaren, this yr is the primary time in F1 historical past, we could have a driver on the grid who wasn’t born when one other (Alonso) made his debut.
Out of the 23 races this yr, unquestionably the one which has obtained everybody speaking is the brand new occasion in Las Vegas operating down the well-known “Vegas Strip” on Saturday evening.
It should be fairly a spectacle and I can not wait to be there in November.