To keep track of what is new for this year’s upcoming season, here is a quick guide to the biggest changes to F1 ahead of the 74th world championship.
There are six names in new seats for the 2023 season, including three drivers who will be embarking on their rookie campaigns at the highest level.
The most high-profile move is the one involving the least experienced driver on the grid, as Formula 2 champion Oscar Piastri makes his debut with McLaren after a dramatic split from Alpine.
His arrival at the team comes at the expense of Daniel Ricciardo, whose contract was ended by McLaren a year early. With no race seat for this season, Ricciardo has returned to his original home at Red Bull to act as a reserve and demonstration driver for 2023.
Alpine had a vacancy to fill after Fernando Alonso decided to leave for Aston Martin, and the team signed Pierre Gasly once the courts confirmed that Piastri was not obliged to race for them this season. Gasly’s former seat at AlphaTauri has now been filled by Formula E champion Nyck de Vries, who impressed with his unexpected grand prix debut in Monza.
The final change to the grid is at Williams, where American driver Logan Sargeant will debut after finishing fourth in the 2022 F2 season as a rookie.
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There have been just as much musical chairs with team principals as with the drivers, and some chairs are yet to be filled.
Mattia Binotto kicked things off by resigning from his position at Ferrari, and Frederic Vasseur was signed to take his place from the start of 2023. That left Vasseur’s old team Alfa Romeo in need of a replacement – who they still haven’t found.
But Alfa Romeo did manage to poach McLaren’s team principal Andreas Seidl to act as Sauber’s new CEO and lead their transition into Audi, thus leaving McLaren in the same leaderless position as Alfa Romeo. But they immediately promoted Andrea Stella as their new team principal, ensuring they would not spend a single day of the off-season without a leader.
Williams, however are in that position, as the team relieved team principal Jost Capito and technical director Francois-Xavier Demaison and currently have not yet named replacements for either of those positions.
The 2023 F1 calendar is the longest in the series’ history, with 23 grands prix and six further sprint races in a schedule running from March to November.
The Bahrain Grand Prix once again kicks off the racing action, and holds pre-season testing too, with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in its traditional season-ending slot on 26th November.
The Singapore Grand Prix will run around a slightly shortened layout as construction work begins on the section of the circuit around ‘The Float’ that saw the drivers drive past the water and then under the grandstand. The track will return to its original layout once work is completed following the multi-year development.
A return to Losail for the Qatar Grand Prix, which appeared on the calendar in 2021, brings the season to a record-length 23 events, and the number of sprint races has gone from three to six, being held in Baku, Red Bull Ring, Spa, Losail and Interlagos.
There’s also an expansion to three races in the United States, as the Las Vegas Grand Prix joins the schedule as the penultimate race of the year on 18th November – the first grand prix to be held on a Saturday in decades.
F1 teams will have two sets of triple-header race weekends, the first being Imola, Monaco and Barcelona in May and June. Then near the end of the season, another triple-header will take place across Circuit of the Americas, Mexico City and Interlagos in October and November.
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New rules: Financial, sporting & technical
After the major technical regulations changes for 2022, teams will naturally have been relieved to have relatively static regulations for which to design their 2023 cars for.
However, there are some minor but not insignificant changes to the technical regulations for this year. In a bid to reduce the severe aerodynamic porpoising seen with the ground effect cars at the start of last season, the FIA has introduced tougher and more stringent floor deflection tests to measure how much car floors are flexing under aerodynamic load.
Teams will also have more freedom under the regulations to alter their homologated gearbox designs for 2023 “in the case of materials, processes or proprietary parts becoming unavailable or having their use restricted for health and safety reasons.”
Mirrors have also been made larger to reduce blind spots, while car roll hoops will be strengthened following the collapse of the roll hoop on Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo during his horrifying crash at the start of the British Grand Prix.
In terms of the sporting regulations, there are also some minor tweaks to the rules. The FIA have clarified the procedure for applying grid penalties in the event of large numbers of drivers all serving penalties at the same event, such as at Spa-Francorchamps and Monza last year.
In two rounds this season, Formula 1 will trial a ‘revised qualifying format’. The qualifying format will remain functionally identical, however drivers will only be permitted to run hard tyres in Q1, medium tyres will be mandatory in Q2 and drivers will only be allowed to use softs in Q3. The system is designed to help make F1’s use of its tyre compounds over a weekend less wasteful and more sustainable.
DRS will now be activated after a single lap of green flag racing this season rather than the previous two laps – but only during the sprint races. If considered successful, the FIA will roll out the change to grands prix in 2023.
The final element of the regulations, the financial regulations, will also be slightly revised for the new season. The 2022 budget cap was set at $141.2m for the year with 22 rounds, but in 2023, the total limit for teams will be reduced to $137.4m – assuming the 23 rounds currently confirmed to be taking place go ahead.
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2023 F1 season
- Ferrari “quite good” in qualifying but “very difficult” when we lose grip – Leclerc
- F1 ‘could have 32 grands prix today because everyone wants one’ – Domenicali
- “Very frustrating” Australian GP showed where Red Bull had gone wrong – Verstappen
- Sabbatical or retirement? Ricciardo returns to F1 paddock – and questions over his future
- Mercedes made more progress since season began than during winter – Russell
17 comments on “What’s new for 2023? Your guide to the F1 season ahead”
F1 in Figures (@f1infigures)
1st January 2023, 13:27
What a weird idea. I saw some old BTCC races the other day, in which drivers apparently had 6 tires for the whole weekend. While that seems a bit extreme, why can’t F1 be more like that? At the moment, most sets of tires are only used for a couple of laps, which is pretty wasteful. I don’t really see how changing compounds makes this less wasteful, to be honest.
1st January 2023, 15:26
Some years ago they had a rule where you couldn’t change tyres during a race, unless you had a puncture. I cannot remember if they were supposed to use the same tyres in quali as well or if it was just the race, but it seemed to work. There was one race though where Kimi (I think) flat spotted his front tyre really badly early in the race so was getting really bad vibration on the high speed straights leading to him crashing out near the end of the race when the suspension arms couldn’t take it any more. The thing I like about the single tyre rule was that you didn’t get races decided on who could change tyres fastest or people getting free pit stops under the safety car or which computer program calculated the best tyre strategy.
1st January 2023, 22:52
In what was probably the most blatant of FIA manipulations of the Formula 1 World Championship in recent history, it successfully prevented Ferrari from winning a 7th WCC in a row by gifting a “Championship” to a car, any car running Michelin tyres.
2nd January 2023, 2:25
That was dull.
Instead they were decided on who turned up to the track with the fastest car in pre-season testing.
1st January 2023, 15:42
It seems to make no sense because after all the FIA/Pirelli “effort” into offering alternative paces with tyres only, races are mostly a one strategy endeavour. – a one pitstop trip even. So, the alternate compound sets are practically useless. Barring some event that makes the track over -/+5C degrees (rain included), strategies for each race are set possibly as soon as the car perfomance is established on track and correlated with the computer models. Then, compound varieties have almost no impact on how teams intend to race in a given weekend.
Having a soft, medium, hard options only have some effect on the odd chance that a driver like ALbon tries a 200 laps stint or a frontrunner have some problem (spin, puncture) and get out of the pits windows.
Other than that, tyres options only served to throw Ferrari on ridicule, as they always picked the wrong set.
1st January 2023, 16:10
It will stop teams returning soft tires that have only run 3-4 laps in Q1 and Q2 as well as returning unused hard tyres which once mounted on a rim can’t be re-used.
1st January 2023, 17:14
Hmmmm…. I actually kind of like the idea of it. It tests the driver and car more to have to put in good laps on all compounds. It’s the same challenge for everyone and won’t detract from the session. Interested to see how it works in practice.
2nd January 2023, 7:04
@petebaldwin I fear it might provide even more of a cushion to the top 3 compared to the rest as some teams are likely to tweak their setup so that hard kind of work and make it through Q1. The midfield is tight and most teams won’t be able to run with a compromised setup and still go through Q1, unlike the big 3. For the next phase of qualifying, it will mean the top 3 only have cars optimized towards softer compounds.
I still think it is worth a try if it is kept at few quali sessions and if the decision following the test are based on arguments reflecting what happened on track.
1st January 2023, 13:51
F1 will return to Paradise in 2023. There has never been any F1 racing in actual Las Vegas.
1st January 2023, 16:00
I’m still reserved on the new qualifying tyre rule plan, but I’ll wait with full judgment until the season opener or the first few events to get a slightly better idea.
However, DRS availability on lap two (or the 2nd green lap with an early SC neutralization) is risky & pointless, so hopefully not for actual races in 2024.
BTW, what makes Piastri the ‘least’ experienced driver among the rookie trio, even though Sargeant hasn’t done any more F1 racing than him? I don’t quite follow.
Will Wood (@willwood)
1st January 2023, 16:53
@jerejj Unlike Sargeant or De Vries, Piastri has not participated in any official F1 session before. Only tests.
1st January 2023, 17:15
@willwood Okay, I now get the reference.
Short Circuit (@jjohn)
2nd January 2023, 7:24
4th January 2023, 7:48
Yeah, it’s not clearly written. This wording could well be taken to mean that:
– Q1, medium or hard are available
– Q2, only medium tyres can be run
– Q3, medium or soft tyres are available.
However, I think it’s supposed to be saying that only one tyre compound is available per qualifying session, which are Q1 Hard, Q2 Medium, Q3 Soft.
2nd January 2023, 12:04
I think it would have made more sense to allow any team to choose which tyre suits their car in the race, and ditch the “must use Two tyre grades in any one race”, that way all the unused tyres will still be able to be used in another race where that grade would be more suitable – No wastage at all.
2nd January 2023, 12:30
No, F1 race tyres, once mounted on their rims, are scrap either way.
2nd January 2023, 14:05
Even if they transported the tyres still mounted on rims to the next event (at additional expense) they still wouldn’t use them.
Racing tyres are exceptionally sensitive to UV and thermal degradation over time.
The tyres are the most complex, delicate and unstable part of any race car.
Comments are closed.