The 2023 F1 Japanese GP is going to be an interesting race. We're coming to the race weekend on the back of Red Bull losing for the first time this season. Not only that, there is an eerie coincidence of the technical directive from the FIA coming into effect at the same time.
Everyone will be keeping an eye on the 2023 F1 Japanese GP for multiple reasons, not the least of which is the pecking order after Red Bull's surprise loss.
Having said that, what can we expect from the race in Japan this weekend? Let's find out as we share our predictions for the race weekend.
#1 Max Verstappen dominates the 2023 F1 Japanese GP
Yeah, this one might disappoint the fans a little (unless you're a Max Verstappen fan). The race in Singapore saw Red Bull struggle because the team was unable to run the car at its conventional low-ride height.
The car had to be run higher because of the bumps, and that had a significant impact on the overall performance. While many fans wait with baited breath over the potential impact of the technical directive, this is certainly not the result of that.
As both Toto Wolff and Christian Horner have alluded to, there are no magic bullets in F1, none that help you succeed, and none that can take all your advantage away.
#2 Ferrari could struggle with the conditions
Ferrari has been the form team in the second half of the season. In the last 4 races, the team has 2 podiums, 3 pole positions, and a win to its name.
The car has worked brilliantly in the high-speed sections of Spa and Monza; it has won in the slow confines of Singapore as well.
Now we're heading to Japan, a track that demands everything from the cars, including tire management and strong efficiency in fast-speed security.
These might be the areas where Ferrari could struggle a little, as even in Singapore, the race was still won with a tire management strategy and nothing else.
#3 Mercedes and McLaren should be strong contenders
If there is any track that could bear some resemblance to Suzuka, then it's Silverstone. The car and the tires will have to go through torture in the first sector, and arguably that is where a lot of laptime would be made.
For Mercedes and McLaren, the race at Silverstone showed that these two cars could be very competitive and even hold an edge over others in Red Bull's chasing pack.
We could see the 2023 F1 Japanese GP feature the return to the podium of a certain George Russell after a disastrous race in Singapore.
#4 Expect Williams to have a better weekend
Williams was on course for another point finish in Singapore before Sergio Perez decided to bump Alex Albon off the track. Regardless, the team was not in its element at the track, as the lack of long straights did tamper with the strengths of the car.
This weekend we're going to the 2023 F1 Japanese GP and looking at the track layout and the team's recent developments, one can back a points haul for the team.
#5 The race could struggle with a lack of action
We had a fun little race in Singapore, and even the last F1 Japanese GP was a great experience, although it was curtailed and in the rain. This time around, it's unlikely that we will have a rain intervention.
Suzuka is not the best track when it comes to on-track action. To make things worse, the cars are already much tougher to follow this season as compared to 2022. All in all, we might be looking at a weekend where on-track action might not be that great.