The Incredible Hülk Returns, 2023 F1 Season

Beomoose

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F1 news is already running hot this year, so I figured we should get the new thread going a little earlier.

First up, after seemingly going out of their way to push back on the Andretti desire for an F1 team last year, F1 is now actively looking for new teams:

https://the-race.com/formula-1/fia-opens-door-for-new-teams-to-join-f1-grid/

https://the-race.com/formula-1/ford-porsche-andretti-f1s-leading-new-team-contenders/

While this year's grid is already set, the wheeling an dealing around this hunt for new teams could make up a substantial portion of the season's off-track drama.
 

CheapSeats

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Looking forward to a couple storylines:

An American on the grid (though sadly in a Williams).

Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg back on the same team.

Getting to see Ricciardo and Mick Schumacher stick around the paddock as reserve drivers, and maybe a little Ricciardo/Perez drama if things go sideways for Perez this year.

Improvement from the non-Red Bull teams.
 

Beomoose

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Red Bull debuted their Livery.
https://www.racefans.net/2023/02/03/red-bull-unveil-rb19-livery-in-new-york/

Interestingly, the 3 races in America will use unique "fan designed" liveries chosen via contest.

And they announced the Ford partnership is go. In brief, Red Bull Powertrains (Red Bull's new in-house engine builder) is now Red Bull Ford Powertrains and Ford's direct contribution is going to be battery and hybrid technology. They will continue to use the current Honda power unit during the present powertrain freeze, which runs through 2025, switching to the Red Bull Ford power unit starting in 2026 when the new engine formula goes into effect.
View: https://twitter.com/FordPerformance/status/1621523314060709888
 
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Beomoose

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After their livery launch two weeks ago, this week the actual Haas VF23 broke cover in Pre-Season testing. At first glance it looks similar to last year's car, but details like re-shaped pods and engine cover indicate a lot of work's been done on their concept.
https://www.racefans.net/2023/02/11/first-pictures-new-haas-vf-23-makes-its-debut-on-track/

AlphaTauri also looks to be refining their 2022 concept rather than going all-new, but they're only showing a show car and simplified renders right now so the actual track car could be hiding surprises.
https://www.racefans.net/2023/02/11/first-pictures-alphatauri-presents-its-new-look-for-the-2023-f1-season/

With their livery nothing to write home about, Williams went ahead and just showed a few images of their car. They made side pod changes and....not a lot else?
https://www.racefans.net/2023/02/13/first-pictures-new-williams-fw45-makes-its-debut/

Aston's all-new '23 car shows a lot of Red Bull influence, expected given their RB alum designer, but also some Mercedes in the nose and, unusually for Stroll's team, some of their own innovations:
https://www.racefans.net/2023/02/13/first-pictures-aston-martin-reveals-genuine-amr23/

McLaren, on the other hand, has seemingly made a lot fewer changes compared to the car they ended '22 with. They tweaked and added some touches from top team cars, but it looks very much like an evolution.
https://www.racefans.net/2023/02/13/mclaren-set-top-four-target-as-they-reveal-new-f1-car-for-2023/

Both these last two teams are bringing new facilities, including team wind tunnels, online this year that may allow them to better compete with the top-3 teams next year.

On the silly season side of things, Ford taking up with Red Bull has left Honda without a dancing partner. But Honda has indicated an interest in the 2026 rules, which is leading to talk they might shack up with McLaren again. Or maybe Porsche. Or...Red Bull Ford??
 

Nick Kaufman

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First day of testing today. Red Bull seems to have her car better, Mercedes seems to have solved their porpoising woes and interestingly enough Alonso finished second today. Normally, this would hardly be indicative of anything, but according to rumors based on windtunel testing, Aston Martin made a leap this offseason. I am ready to go full Alonso fanboy even though he's cantankerous old man who isn't afraid to get his elbows out.
 

tmracht

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I guess it depends how much you believe. Mercedes is pivoting to a new design in a couple weeks, if they can tame the purposing without jacking up the ride height that puts them in a new tier, but who knows. McLaren got some work to do.

Alpha Tauri now being put up for sale should make things interesting on that end. I can't imagine a deal closes quickly, but it probably means they don't commit a ton of money to the team.
 

tmracht

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Now Alpha puts out a statement that they are totally not for sale. I love F1 drama.
 

swiftaw

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Aston Martin make have a competitive car this year. Alonso was fastest in P2 today.
 

tmracht

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At worst it means the Merc engine is viable in which case Merc should eventually be able to figure it out. 4+ teams in contention would be excellent.
 

Nick Kaufman

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Man, it’s still early and there’s still plenty of development time, but it would be sweet to see Alonso compete for first. As it is, the more conservative estimate is that Aston Martin are going to be at least competitive with Alpine, which interestingly enough, may have en sandbagging so far and maybe even Mercedes.That’s the fun part of the first race. No clear sense of the pecking order.

having said that, a very likely scenario is that Red Bull just straight out dominates this season.
 

Beomoose

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Logan nearly made it into Q2 and Hülk lays down the 6th best time in Q1, this season could get interesting.
 

Nick Kaufman

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The margins so far are very small between the cars. It bodes well for a competitive season.
 

Nick Kaufman

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I am not a big Conor Moore guy, but when he did Will "Exposition" Buxton and Leclerc broke down in tears, I was in stitches.
 
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Nick Kaufman

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In Q1 and Q2, the times were very very close. In Q3, things were a bit more normal, although Ferrari might have done something smart by not doing a second run in order to conserve another set of soft tyres. Also, reading Verstappen's and Perez' statements it does seem it was a sweat for them because they truly had a trouble finding the right set up to remain on top.

Overall, after testing it seemed that Red Bull was a shoo-in to repeat, but the weekend so far has allowed for a glimmer of hope for a more competitive grid. We 'll see.
 
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Nick Kaufman

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"This winter, Ferrari found a few tenths of a second by fixing the reliability problems plaguing their engines!".
 

Nick Kaufman

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FWIW, I was looking at the results and I noticed that 11 drivers finished the race without being lapped. I got curious and googled the 2022 results and not a single driver was lapped. Also noticeably, Bottas who finished 8 this race was something like 72 seconds behind, while last year's 8th which I think was Tsunoda, was something like 20+ seconds behind. I don't know how results would look if I take Redbull out of the equation; Alonso who finished 3rd was 38 seconds behind and Sainz a further 10 secs behind. So maybe, as is the prevalent sentiment there are no backmarkers this year and everyone's closely bunched up. Red Bull seems well in front of the pack however.
 

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2022 had a safety car on lap 51. You can’t really compare the final results to a clean race (outside of Leclerc’s VSC that didn’t bunch up or un-lap the field).
 

tmracht

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Pretty impressive for Aston, disaster for McLaren, disaster for Alpine except for Gasly sneaking into the points, oof Ocon. Red Bull being almost a minute clear of Sainz, Ham, Stroll, Russell, means this isn't just a single tweak away from contention. It's not just that Max is faster in qualifying but that the cars deg is so low. You could hear Merc saying their deg was great, but by the end they had nothing left to fight.

Even before the car imploded Leclerc started on better tires and couldn't out race Perez.
 

Nick Kaufman

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Red Bull are ruthless and from what I 've seen Horner holds Ricciardo in high esteem.
 

reggiecleveland

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Last year Norris signed a monster A$94 million deal with McLaren that will tie him to the team until the end of 2025. McLaren said the contract doesn’t have an exit clause, meaning any team wanting to poach Norris would have to buy him out.
Sorry But how would a buyout work? Do they have to pay McClaren?
I find it weird teams can sign a guy for the nextyear but he finishes the season with his current team.


https://www.news.com.au/sport/motorsport/formula-one/no-1-pick-to-replace-lewis-mclaren-in-trouble-as-rumours-swirl-over-lando-norris-defection/news-story/4a506c3adac96c33dccfccb9a8bc46b7
 

BobGenghisKhan

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Setting aside popcorn for the race tomorrow, with both Max and Charles having to work their way up from the middle of the grid, and Alonso vs Checo on the front row.
 

Nick Kaufman

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Helmut Marco said something interesting the other day, that because of the penalties for their cost cap breaches + the fact that they being first means they re getting less windtunnel time, they prepared as well as they could for the start of the season because the rest will get to develop their cars more.

he could have been trying to lower expectations, but it's interesting to see whether that happens and to what degree for the rest of the season.
 

Nick Kaufman

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Leclerc after qualifying.
Leclerc meanwhile had mixed feelings on Saturday night in Saudi Arabia. The Monegasque driver was 0.155s off Sergio Perez's pole time but ended up 12th on the grid for Sunday's race with a 10-place grid penalty for taking engine parts beyond his allocation.

"On the one hand I’m really, really happy with my lap, it was really on the limit, so on that I’m very happy," said Leclerc. "On the other hand it seems that Red Bull is really on another planet right now so we really have to work to catch up because even on a track like this, they seem to be much quicker than we are.
2022 Qualifying

1. Perez 1:28:200
2 Leclerc: 1:28:225
4 Verstappen: 1:28:461

2023 Qualifying
1. Perez 1:28.265
2. Leclerc: 1:28.420

Basically, at least judging from qualifying the gap has increased by one tenth, which is the wrong direction, but Ferrari sound far more pessimistic than those numbers would indicated. Obviously Red Bull's race pace is so much better, but still.
 

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Is Lewis sandbagging to prove how bad his car is? Could just be that head scratcher of a hard tire choice.
 

Nick Kaufman

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Ferrari for once outstrategize a rival and they immediately get screwed by a safety car.
 

mikeot

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Red Bulls in a league of their own again this season, at least early on. Love that Aston with Fernando is a serious contender. First time that marque has been on a front row since .... 1959!
 

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Alonso (one of my all-time favorite drivers) runs a brilliant qualifying and race, only to sabotage himself with a grid penalty (lined up inches outside his box at the start) and a pit penalty (crew touched his car before his five-second penalty was up), for a total of ten penalty seconds and being stripped of his 100th podium finish. Good race for the first 25 or so laps then the usual Red Bull boredom procession.
 

Nick Kaufman

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Alonso (one of my all-time favorite drivers) runs a brilliant qualifying and race, only to sabotage himself with a grid penalty (lined up inches outside his box at the start) and a pit penalty (crew touched his car before his five-second penalty was up), for a total of ten penalty seconds and being stripped of his 100th podium finish. Good race for the first 25 or so laps then the usual Red Bull boredom procession.
Knowing Alonso, I am willing to bet that his grid placement was no mistake. He either gambled he wasn't going to get caught or he thought that the benefit of stealing first was worth 5 seconds.