F1 2023: Top 5 Bold Predictions for the season

F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi
Who will be standing at the top after all is said and done?

The 2023 F1 season is getting closer by the day as car launches are now just around the corner. February will be packed with reveals and pre-season tests and then, in March, the season kicks off in Bahrain. Before the season begins, it's always fun to just sit back and make some predictions on what to expect this season. Let's be fair, these are not the most educated picks because we haven't even been through the car launches.

At best, these are 'educated guesses' of what I expect will happen this season. We will do an 'official prediction' for the season once we're done with the pre-season testing, but for now, let's shoot our shot as I share my top 5 predictions for the 2023 F1 season.

#1 Max Verstappen will win his third F1 title

Now, to be fair, I don't think this one is going to be easy in any way. Red Bull has already started the season on the back foot with a reduced development time as it won the title. That time has been reduced further due to the cost cap infringement penalty. Considering all of that, there is ample opportunity for both Ferrari and Mercedes to close the gap to Red Bull.

Wishing you all the best for 2023 🍾

They might even end up overtaking the Austrian team in terms of performance. Having said that, the reason why the Max Verstappen-Red Bull package turned into this dominant juggernaut is not just because of superior car performance. The team is a complete package on all fronts. The in-race operations are often stunning and teams have found that difficult to compete with.

Red Bull has one of the best pit crews in the paddock. Additionally, it has the best strategic unit as well to supplement Verstappen in races. Finally, to top it all off, is the key and arguably the most important piece right now: the driver.

In Verstappen, Red Bull has the best driver on the grid, not only because he's fast, but also because he's ridiculously consistent. The Dutchman does not have an off-weekend and his mistakes are rare.

When you add it all up, I have to pick Verstappen to win the 2023 F1 Drivers championship but let me say that again... It's not going to be easy!

#2 The title battle will be a 4-way fight

Unless something weird happens, it will be a very close battle between Red Bull, Ferrari, and Mercedes. Red Bull got the jump on the other two teams because it could iron out its issues in the very first season under the new regulations.

Will @maxverstappen1 & @redbullracing keep the @f1 crown this year?Despite the ease with which Verstappen won the title last season, he anticipates a more competitive battle in 2023.“I do think it will be closer,” Verstappen told media. #f1 #grandprixjournal #f1edit

However, the winter break should have helped Mercedes learn more about its car and cure whatever issues plagued its performance. Meanwhile, if the reliability of the Ferrari power unit is cured, then one of the biggest handicaps for the car could be removed. To add to this, let’s not forget the 10% reduction in development time for Red Bull that will come into play as well. It wouldn't be a surprise if the trio of Red Bull, Mercedes, and Ferrari are within tenths of each other come Bahrain.

Now, when we talk about the title battle, it might sound a bit harsh, but neither Sergio Perez nor Carlos Sainz is going to feature prominently in that. Both are very good drivers, but if we're completely honest about them, they lack those final touches that Lewis Hamilton, George Russell, Max Verstappen, and Charles Leclerc possess.

#3 Mercedes will win the constructors title

With the trio of Ferrari, Mercedes, and Red Bull in contention, the constructors' title will be closely contested as well. With two drivers who are almost level in terms of performance, Mercedes is my pick to win the title.

Russell: "Lewis in the wall" Engineer: "Copy that" *copies that* #F1 #AustrianGP #WTF1

With both George Russell and Lewis Hamilton competing for the title, there is a possibility of the two having a falling out. Having said that, with Toto Wolff at the helm and the kind of respect he commands from both drivers, it's difficult to see things going too far out of control.

Unless we see a scenario where one of the three teams pulls out a massive performance gap over the others, Mercedes should be able to clinch the constructors' championship.

#4 At least one surprise F1 race winner from McLaren, Aston Martin, or Alpine

The 2023 F1 season should see performance gaps between teams start shrinking. The restrictive nature of the regulations and the added year of running will help teams understand the regulations better. Having said that, it would be unwise to expect either of the midfield teams to close the gap to the frontrunners already.

First day in green. 💚Earlier this week, @alo_oficial made his debut at AMF1 HQ - meeting the team, spending time in the sim and having a seat fit.

The gap would still be sizeable enough to prevent that from happening. Having said that, unpredictability is a part of the sport and a freak first-lap crash, rain, or a crazy weekend where everything comes together for a driver is surely a possibility.

Now in 2022, the gap between the frontrunners and the midfield was enormous and even then Lando Norris scraped a podium. This F1 season, the gap will be smaller, and with McLaren, Alpine, and Aston Martin having drivers fully capable of exploiting that potential, I expect at least one weekend where we have a surprise race winner.

#5 F1 fan toxicity will reach an all-time high

Now, talking about the most unwelcome part of the sport, I feel this deserves a mention. F1's fandom has jumped leaps and bounds and will continue to do so, even more, this season.

Fans haven’t really changed much at all. The numbers may have grown but the core toxicity has always been a constant. DTS is a scapegoat so that people aren’t forced to address that the issue has been alive and well long before hand

Now, the fan toxicity was terrible last season, with some rather disgusting scenes in Silverstone, Red Bull Ring, and Zandvoort. All of this happened despite a mild championship battle.

This F1 season, we'll have an intense championship battle and by the looks of it, there will be three teams involved. Should that be the case, I fear that F1 fan toxicity is going to hit an all-time high this season.

Disclaimer: This article reflects the opinion/s of the writer

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Edited by Anurag C
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