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A new season is about to start. Who is going to win the drivers’ and the constructors’ titles this year? We will take a look at the early Formula One 2023 favourites.
F1 2023 Drivers Favourites
In 2022, it was all Max Verstappen. The Dutchman had a difficult start to the season, but bounced back from the fourth round onwards and never looked back. Entering 2023 as a two-time champion, will Verstappen pull off the three-peat? Who will rise up to the challenge?
Here are the F1 favourites for the 2023 drivers’ championship.
Max Verstappen (4/6 at Ladbrokes)
Unsurprisingly, the Dutchman is the early favourite to repeat as a champion in 2023. Following his first title in 2021, Verstappen took another big step forward in 2022 and completely dominated the field.
Not even early reliability gremlins in Bahrain and Australia were enough to stop the 25-year old. Verstappen was almost flawless during the second half of the year, winning nine of the final 11 races on the way to the title – which he secured with four races to go.
There is little reason to expect anything different this year. The rules haven’t changed that much, and both Verstappen and Red Bull will start the year one step ahead of the competition.
Despite his young age, the Dutchman drives like a veteran: Verstappen arguably manages his tyres and race pace better than anyone on the field. Combined with the natural talent, the two-time champion has already reached a level that most drivers will only dream of. And there is still room for growth, which is a scary prospect for his opponents.
Red Bull dominated the pre-season testing in Bahrain, with Verstappen comfortably leading the first two days before handing over to Sergio Perez. The two-time champion was also setting the pace in the long runs, showing that little has changed from last year.
Charles Leclerc (4/1 at Ladbrokes)
During the first half of the season, it looked like Leclerc was going to take the title challenge down to the wire. But the Monegasque’s form dropped as the year progressed, ending in a winless second half.
Leclerc was a force to be reckoned with in qualifying, scoring a series-leading and career high nine poles. On the other hand, the Ferrari driver struggled to replicate his single lap Saturday pace on Sunday. Between strategy errors, driver’s mistakes and a lack of long-run pace compared to the Red Bulls, Leclerc only managed to convert two of his poles into wins.
With Ferrari likely continuing as the second force, Leclerc enters the season as Verstappen’s closest rival. How close, however, is the biggest question. Can the Monegasque challenge the two-time champion in a season-long battle?
Right now, it’s fair to expect a few Grand Prix wins here and there. Taking the fight to Verstappen in the standings is a whole different matter.
Leclerc was in the chasing pack during the pre-season testing, showing that Ferrari is more or less where it was at the end of 2022. He has a good chance of remaining as Verstappen’s leading challenger.
Sergio Perez (25/1 at Ladbrokes)
The Mexican concluded the pre-season tests at the top of the timesheets. Of course, this doesn’t mean that Perez will challenge for the title, but it is still some nice motivation.
Red Bull’s Helmut Marko believes that the new RB19 is better suited to Perez’s driving style compared to the RB18, as the team has seemingly found the right balance for both drivers.
Coming off his best season and having narrowly missed out on second place in the drivers’ championship, can Perez challenge his teammate in an internal battle? The Mexican is an interesting outside pick for the title, but nothing more than that.
Lewis Hamilton (4/1 at Ladbrokes)
The seven-time champion is coming off his first winless season in F1. Hamilton delivered some podiums, but struggled with Mercedes’ tricky car.
The new regulations posed a difficult challenge for the British driver, who had a season full of ups-and-downs. Hamilton had a streak of five consecutive podiums just before the summer break. He also had a solid finish to the season, scoring three runner-up finishes in the last four races.
That being said, it remains to be seen if Hamilton and Mercedes have done enough to make up for the lost ground. The seven-time champion did show some encouraging signs in pre-season testing, finishing second in the last day after briefly leading the night session.
In recent interviews, however, Hamilton has stated that Mercedes is still dealing with some lingering balance limitations from the 2022 car. At least for now, it looks like the record-setting eighth title is still a bit of a long shot.
Fernando Alonso (25/1 at Ladbrokes)
Many questioned Alonso’s decision to move to Aston Martin for F1 2023. After all, the two-time champion has always come under heavy criticism for his poor career management skills – which have arguably been one of the main reasons why he hasn’t won a third championship.
But the British team impressed in Bahrain, and largely because of Alonso’s form. The 41-year old Spaniard consistently found himself near the top of the timesheets, showing that the car did have some decent raw pace.
But it wasn’t all about the results either. Alonso showed plenty of consistency over the long runs, often taking the fight to Ferrari on average laptimes while staying ahead of Mercedes. Will Alonso’s pre-season carry over into the season? Winning the championship and dethroning Verstappen isn’t going to be an easy task, but the legendary driver will definitely be one to watch in Formula One this year.
F1 2023 Constructors’ Favourites
Verstappen’s 2021 title brought Mercedes’ run of seven consecutive drivers’ championships to an end. And last year, it was Red Bull’s turn to bring the German team’s eight-year winning streak in the constructors’ championship to an end.
These are the best early Formula One 2023 favourites for the constructors’ title.
Red Bull (3/5 at Ladbrokes)
Fresh off its first constructors’ title in nine years, Red Bull enters 2023 as the favourites for a repeat. The Austrian powerhouse was absolutely dominant last year, winning 17 of 222 races. After the summer break, Red Bull went on a tear and won all but one of the final nine Grand Prix.
Again, the regulations remain largely unchanged for 2023, and the defending champions enter the new season well ahead of the rest.
The RB19 was clearly the class of the field during the Bahrain testing, comfortably leading all three days and showing the best pace in the long runs.
As part of its punishment for going over the 2021 budget cap, Red Bull will lose 10% of its allocated wind tunnel testing. Combined with the scaling based on the previous year’s standing, this leaves the Austrian team down to 63% (202 hours) of the maximum time. That being said, it probably won’t be enough to significantly impact the car’s development.
With wind tunnel and budget cap constraints for the other contenders, as well as Red Bull’s current pace advantage, it’s safe to say that the Austrian powerhouse will be the team to beat once again.
Ferrari (3/1 at Ladbrokes)
The Italian team didn’t set off any fireworks during pre-season testing, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Ferrari went on with its testing program and had an uneventful three days – a good sign for a team that struggled with reliability last year.
After enjoying a strong start to 2022, the Scuderia had a tough second half. Despite its strong pace over a single lap, validated by an F1-leading 11 pole-positions, Ferrari often failed to translate it into race pace. Finding that balance in the 2023 Formula One season will be key for its title aspirations.
Before the season kicks off, it’s fair to assume that Ferrari will remain as Red Bull’s main challenger.
Mercedes (5/2 at Ladbrokes)
Despite having some slightly better odds than Ferrari, Mercedes still looks like the third force. The pre-season testing results were definitely encouraging, highlighted by Hamilton’s impressive second place on day 3.
But the German team’s new challenger, the W14, still isn’t as refined as Red Bull and Ferrari’s cars. Mercedes has seemingly tuned down the porpoising, which was its biggest problem last year.
The team’s inability to lower the car’s height meant that its performance oscillated a lot from one track to another. While Mercedes was often competitive at low and especially at medium-speed tracks, it struggled at the high-speed layouts. It’s difficult to imagine a big enough turnaround in such a short time to make up for this inconsistency.
Aston Martin (50/1 at Ladbrokes)
As mentioned earlier, Aston Martin was the biggest surprise in Formula One’s 2023 pre-season tests. With a significantly different design philosophy, the AMR23 was battling near the front during all three days.
The British team seemingly struck gold with its 2023 car, which looked incredibly stable around the track, had great single lap pace and produced some incredibly consistent laptimes over the long runs. Challenging Red Bull is an entirely different matter, but if you are looking for a longshot to wager on, then Aston looks like the best pick.