Logan Sargeant, Kevin Magnussen, Monaco, 2023

Watch 10 of the best ‘proper’ overtakes from F1, IndyCar, WEC and more in 2023

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The majority of overtaking moves in Formula 1, Formula 2 and Formula 3 this year can be summarised as follows: A driver gets within a second of a rival, opens their DRS and breezes past.

In the second season since F1 overhauled its aerodynamic regulations to aid overtaking, many drivers complained passing had become more difficult, and the FIA’s move to reduce the length of DRS zones by even a small amount was resisted.

As a result, proper wheel-to-wheel racing in F1 and its feeder series was restricted to areas of circuits DRS does not reach, or days when rain fell. And, of course, championships which have not resorted to DRS to increase passing.

Happily, that still provided a wealth of great overtaking moves for us to enjoy throughout 2023. We chose 10 of the best, but could easily have added another 10 on top of these. Enjoy them all via the links below and share your favourite passes of 2023 in the comments.

IndyCar: Grosjean and McLaughlin battle at Barber

Romain Grosjean and Scott McLaughlin got too close for comfort at times in IndyCar this year but they diced superbly at Barber Motorsports Park. This one occurred while the pair were running in fourth and fifth but was a de facto victory battle as those ahead still needed to pit.

Grosjean ran right behind McLaughlin through the fast turn 9/10 chicane, and continued to do so through the next three corners as he tried to force his rival into a mistake. At turn 14 he backed out of that approach and drifted wide, which as the corner tightened into turn 14a enabled him to carry more speed on the outside and get a wheel alongside McLaughlin. He gave Grosjean just enough room to stay on what would become his inside for turn 15, and the move was made. Unfortunately for Grosjean, he threw away what could have been his first IndyCar win with a mistake shortly afterwards.

Rossi reverses Rosenqvist’s podium pass

Another case of drivers having multiple on-track battles with each other over a race. This time it was McLaren SP team mates Felix Rosenqvist and Alexander Rossi.

Rosenqvist made a great darting move on Rossi for third place into turn one with four laps to go of the Detroit Grand Prix, then going up the hill to turn two both drivers spun their rear wheels and narrowly avoided contact as the rear of their cars swung out. Rossi managed to get on the inside of Rosenqvist as they went over the crest of the hill and he wrestled his car past his team mate’s as they entered turn two.

Rosenqvist eventually took the place with a much more brusque move on the final lap.

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F1: Magnussen makes his move in Monaco

Although DRS often played a hand in many passes which occured outside the zones, there were places where it did not. We saw some great moves on street tracks, including a couple of inspired moves by Esteban Ocon in Singapore, but this one by Kevin Magnussen deserves special attention, as a cleann overtaking move in Monaco in the dry is an incredibly rare thing.

The Haas driver pulled off a great move to pass Logan Sargeant at Mirabeau. Sargeant had covered the inside line when navigating the bump on the brief run to the corner, but when he returned to the racing line that gave Magnussen the chance to throw his car down the inside and, with a brief lock-up, he made it through cleanly. The onboard view makes it look like Magnussen would not make the corner, but his car turned in perfectly to prove that overtaking in Monaco is – just – possible.

Estre outwits his Ferrari rival in WEC

This battle in the 1000 Miles of Sebring involved a Ferrari with a nervous front and a Porsche with an unstable rear, and the possibility of a collision should one try to pass the other. Kevin Estre got his Porsche 963 super-close to the rear of the Ferrari through several corners, thinking better of going side-by-side until he did just that at Gendebien Bend as the Ferrari went wide. They stayed like that until Le Mans Curve where Estre was decisive on the brakes to move ahead.

Calado pleases the Tifosi with Monza move

James Calado’s overtake on Porsche’s Dane Cameron for sixth in the second half of the Six Hours of Monza made the Tifosi cheer. He homed in on his rival through Curva Grande, and pulled out of his slipstream as they exited the corner. He went for the outside line approaching the della Roggia chicane, but since both braked early they were then carrying more speed as they went side-by-side through the first part of the chicane. Calado got the move done before the change of direction.

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F2: Bearman gets bold in the wet

In soaking wet and low visibility conditions a few rounds later at Silverstone, Bearman came from far back to pass Isack Hadjar into Stowe. The spray from Hadjar, and Frederik Vesti in front of him, meant Bearman could barely see where he was going down the Hangar straight, and after going to the outside to improve his visiblity he then dived down the inside of Hadjar at the corner. He presumably didn’t see him coming, as he did not put up any defence, but it was still impressive judgement and car control by Bearman to pull off the move.

FE: Da Costa clinches Cape Town win in style

Antonio Felix da Costa had to pull off a few gutsy moves to put himself in a winning position in the inaugural Cape Town E-Prix, and this overtake on Jean-Eric Vergne for the lead was one of the best Formula E has ever seen. It was in a very high-speed area of the track, an unusual place for passing in a series where drivers prefer to stay in the tow before braking zones, and also a section where the walls were getting closer on his side due to the track eking right then left. Vergne left him just enough room, and da Costa had just enough grip, to pull it off without making contact.

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F3: Goethe’s intelligent Red Bull Ring pass

It may have only been for 14th place, but thankfully the television cameras picked up Oliver Goethe’s perfectly-judged overtake in Formula 3’s wet sprint race at the Red Bull Ring. Mari Boya and Oliver Gray were in front of him approaching turn three, and Gray went down the inside of Boya just as Goethe headed to the outside.

Boya and Gray had to brake harder due to a tighter turn-in, and impressively Boya did a switchback move on Gray, while Goethe carried plenty of speed around the outside and they were three-wide exiting the corner. Since Goethe was already going faster, he comfortably got ahead of Gray but only after avoiding contact and running along the slippy kerbs. Boya continued to put up a challenge and defended the inside cleverly at turn four to deny Goethe a double move.

F3: Aron gains six places in one corner

A driver who did manage pick off multiple rivals with just one move in the wet was Paul Aron, who in F3’s feature race at Spa overtook three cars in a four-wide move entering La Source, got by his two Prema team mates as he exited the corner then with stronger traction passed another driver to rise from 10th to fourth. By the end of the lap he was in the lead.

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FREC: Antonelli’s final-lap title grab

Prema driver Andrea Kimi Antonelli clinched the Formula Regional European Championship title before the final race but the team’s title went down to the final round. R-Ace GP were on course to grab it as Martinius Stenshorne and Tim Tramnitz led the Hockenheim finale, but their team mate Nikhil Bohra in sixth place had Antonelli in hot pursuit as the final lap began. Approaching the Spitzkehre, Antonelli waited until the final second before diving to the inside of his rival. Bohra fought back hard, but Antonelli secured the position and the title for Prema, showcasing the kind of tenacious driving which has prompted Mercedes to elevate him to Formula 2 next year.

Over to you

Which were your favourite passes of 2023 in these series and more? Share your suggestions in the comments.

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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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5 comments on “Watch 10 of the best ‘proper’ overtakes from F1, IndyCar, WEC and more in 2023”

  1. The Grosjean overtake was surely one of the most memorable and intriguing ones indeed!
    I’m sure there’s been a tonne of great overtakes in the Australian Supercars too, which there is surprisingly none of in the article. I enjoyed several great overtakes during the F3 Macau GP this year as well.

    This is what I’m talking about!

    1. Agree. I think IndyCar generally has the best racing of any series.

  2. Not many F1 highlights here, unsurprisingly. Racing isn’t F1’s thing.
    And the one there is is just an example of a guy with nothing to lose pressuring a rookie to not to be the cause of a crash. Moves like that in that corner used to be commonplace, but then the cars got bigger and the risk-taking equally less attractive.

    Indycar continues to provide great reasons as to why it is rising in popularity globally. It’s not the hype or the marketing – it is simply the quality of the product.

  3. One pass from F1 in 2023 made the top 10.

    I think that says it all.

    1. One pass, and I can’t even remember it. Having watched it again now, I’m thinking it isn’t that impresdive. I imagine someone who doesn’t follow motorsport closely would see that and say “but isn’t that what is supposed to happen?”

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