F1 driver lineups confirmed
The 2022 Formula One season is done and dusted, which means we won't be seeing F1 action at least until March next year. In addition, it also concludes the “silly season” as the 2023 driver lineups for all teams have been confirmed.
In the Formula One world, driver movement is treated as a game of “musical chairs”. With multiple drivers set to leave the sport after last weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, this means we'll be seeing new and returning faces fill up those vacated seats.
That being said, let's do a rundown across the Formula One teams to see who we'll be rooting for in the 2023 season.
The Unchanged (Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes, Alfa Romeo)
The top three teams in the championship, together with midfielders Alfa Romeo will feature an unchanged driver lineup for 2023. While they did not secure a 1-2 finish in the drivers' standings, constructors' champions Red Bull Racing will still field two-time world champion Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez. Together, the duo managed to win 17 out of 22 races this season, with Verstappen setting a record for the most wins in a season with 15 victories to his name.
Meanwhile, Ferrari is continuing with the same driver lineup since the 2021 season with Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz. With both drivers now proven race winners, the ball is in Ferrari's hands if they can eliminate strategy blunders, not to mention, deliver another race-winning car next season.
Mercedes are looking to regain their dominant form in the V6 hybrid era going to the 2023 season. After struggling to match Ferrari and Red Bull in the early part of 2022, Mercedes was able to turn their season around and produce a 1-2 finish in Brazil with George Russell. On the other hand, Lewis Hamilton just finished his first F1 season without a pole or victory and was even outscored by his teammate in the standings. It will be interesting to see if that continues next season.
Alfa Romeo had a strong start in their 2022 campaign with both Valtteri Bottas and rookie Guanyu Zhou registering points finishes early on. But since then, top 10 finishes have become rather sporadic going into the latter parts of the year as other midfield teams have caught up with performance. With the Alfa Romeo branding set to end by next year, Bottas and Zhou may have to prove themselves, especially with the team set to become a semi-works squad due to the Audi partnership.
Transferees and returning faces (Alpha Tauri, Aston Martin, Alpine, Haas)
Yuki Tsunoda is entering 2023 as the new team leader of Alpha Tauri, as his former teammate Pierre Gasly has moved on to join Alpine. The Japanese driver will be joined by former Formula E champion Nyck de Vries, who made a sensational F1 debut this season with a points-scoring finish for the Williams team. Tsunoda and de Vries will be the shortest driver pairing in F1 next season, which could prove to be an advantage when it comes to designing next year's Alpha Tauri machine.
Aston Martin, on the other hand, has another world champion replacing the retiring world champion Sebastian Vettel. Fernando Alonso is taking over Vettel's seat, a move we've seen in Ferrari back in 2015 but with the roles reversed. Lance Stroll stays in the squad and will partner with Alonso for 2023. We'll see if Alonso will get another shot at an F1 title next season which he dearly craves, or will he get the same fate as Vettel?
Meanwhile, Alpine finished as the top midfield team in 2022 as they said au revoir to Alonso in Abu Dhabi. For next year, the squad has an all-French lineup with Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon. With both drivers having one win each to their credit, their intra-team battle will be interesting to watch next season.
Haas is fielding comeback kings for 2023 as they try to bank on experience to move up the F1 order. Kevin Magnussen, who scored the majority of points for the team as well as their maiden pole position this year, will be driving alongside the “super-sub”, Nico Hulkenberg, who is returning as a full-time driver after three years.
The newcomers (McLaren, Williams)
McLaren has dropped Daniel Ricciardo for another Australian driver next season. Oscar Piastri will be racing in his rookie year alongside Lando Norris, as McLaren will try to shake up F1's big 3. With McLaren having a lengthy contract dispute to get Piastri's services over Alpine, many will have their eyes peeled over to Piastri if he can really deliver results for McLaren.
For the first time since 2015, an American driver will be back racing in Formula One. After securing his super license, F2 driver Logan Sargeant will be moving up to the Williams team to drive alongside Alex Albon. With the Thai driver emerging as someone capable of delivering points for the team, Sargeant will have his work cut out in proving himself as an F1-ready driver.
So who are you rooting for in the 2023 Formula One season? Let us know in the comments.