There’s just two more rounds to go in the 2023 Formula 1 season. Las Vegas will provide a new circuit for Formula 1 and Abu Dhabi will return as the season finale as it has on and off since 2009. Both the drivers and constructors’ world titles are decided. These last two races will be a formality and a chance for jockeying for position further down the points standings. With that, here’s our 2023 Formula 1 season recap.
2023 Formula 1 Recap: Red Bull’s New Level of Dominance
Red Bull isn’t new to strong performances in Formula 1. The Milton Keynes-based team enjoyed a strong run in the early 2010s, winning four consecutive drivers and Formula 1 constructors championships from 2010-2013. Sebastian Vettel led the team to glory in those years, especially in 2013.
But the team reached new heights in 2023.
The RB19 will go down as one of the most dominant cars in the sports’ history. It’s won all but one of the Formula 1 races in 2023. The Singapore Grand Prix is the only event not to see a Red Bull driver on the top step.
It hasn’t mattered what type of track or conditions. Red Bull and world champion driver Max Verstappen have won on street courses (Monaco), high-speed tracks (Italy, Great Britain), high-downforce tracks (Netherlands, Mexico City), and mixed conditions (Belgium). Verstappen re-set his own record for wins in a single season with 17 and counting.
Verstappen’s 2023 season is one of the most dominant in history as well. His lead in the F1 standings is incredible; Verstappen has more than twice as many points (524) as second-placed teammate Sergio Pérez (258). By himself, he’s outscored every other team on the grid. He’s broken his 2022 record for points in a season and has scored an incredible 92.25% of points possible in 2023. This team with him in the car are all but unbeatable in 2023.
There’s little end in sight, either. Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said in July that the team is already working on next year’s car. It may take longer than expected for other teams to catch up to them.
The 2023 Red Bull season will be the new standard of dominance for future cars.
2023 Formula 1 Season Recap: Aston Martin and McLaren Rise and Fall
At the start of the season, Aston Martin made a remarkable jump to the top of the field after finishing as the seventh-best car in 2022. Fernando Alonso enjoyed a resurgence with six podium finishes in the first eight races. The two-time champion seemed primed for his first win in more than a decade. Aston Martin stood comfortably behind the Red Bulls but ahead of the group of Ferrari and Mercedes behind them.
But the team’s form dropped off before the summer break. Since the Canadian Grand Prix in mid-June, Aston Martin’s managed just two podium finishes in the last 14 races. Instead, a new challenger emerged after Canada: McLaren.
McLaren started slow in 2023 after a change in design direction forced them to start the year with an underdeveloped car. Lando Norris and rookie Oscar Piastri scrapped to a combined five top-10 results in the first eight races.
In Austria, everything changed. Norris’ updated McLaren, the car the team settled on for the year, finished fourth in the Grand Prix. A week later, Norris finished second to Verstappen and Piastri was a strategy call away from joining him on the rostrum.
Top Formula 1 results suddenly were commonplace for McLaren. Since the British Grand Prix, the two drivers have a combined eight podium finishes. Piastri won the sprint race in Qatar to become the first rookie to win a race of any kind in more than a decade.
McLaren overtook Ferrari, Mercedes, and Aston Martin to become the top challenger to Red Bull in the second half of 2023. If they can develop further, they may close the gap even more in 2024.
2023 Formula 1 Season Recap: New and Familiar Faces in New Places
Three rookies started the season: Piastri, Logan Sargeant at Williams, and Nyck de Vries at AlphaTauri (though he technically started a race in 2022).
Piastri excelled with the updated McLaren. Sargeant’s struggled for consistency at Williams but scored the first F1 points by an American driver in 30 years with 10th place in Austin, Texas. Unfortunately, de Vries was let go by AlphaTauri following the British Grand Prix.
His replacement? Fan favorite Daniel Ricciardo.
Ricciardo’s return started slow with solid but unspectacular results in Hungary and Belgium. A broken hand in practice at the Dutch Grand Prix saw another rookie, Liam Lawson, fill in for five races. Lawson impressed with one points finish (Singapore) and much improved results compared to de Vries.
Alonso’s first-half success in Aston Martin contrasts to the inconsistency Pierre Gasly’s had at Alpine. The French driver joined Alpine from AlphaTauri and has a podium result at the Dutch Grand Prix but hasn’t finished in the top five in any other Grand Prix race. Alpine’s struggled off the track as well with an overhaul in senior management.
Looking Forward to the 2024 Formula 1 season
The 2023 Formula 1 season wasn’t as exciting as recent years thanks to dominance from Red Bull up front. But McLaren, Mercedes, and Ferrari have shown promise in spots and look like they could contend in 2024. They’ll all be gunning for Red Bull in the final two races of 2023 to set the tone for next season.