Everything we know about the 2023 Formula 1 season: Drivers, cars, tracks & more

Formula 1

As the 2022 Formula 1 season comes to its conclusion, focus shifts towards 2023 and what intriguing storylines and battles will unfold.

After one of the biggest overhauls in technical regulations F1 has ever seen, a sense of stability will greet next season, but it hasn’t stopped plenty of changes elsewhere to enable the upcoming campaign to stand out.

Key driver market changes will come into action, while the race calendar continues to expand following the COVID-enforced changes from recent years.

Here’s everything we know about the 2023 F1 season so far.

F1 2023 driver line-up

Team

Driver 1

Driver 2

Red Bull

Max Verstappen

Sergio Perez

Ferrari

Charles Leclerc

Carlos Sainz

Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton

George Russell

Alpine

Esteban Ocon

Pierre Gasly

McLaren

Lando Norris

Oscar Piastri

Alfa Romeo

Valtteri Bottas

Zhou Guanyu

Aston Martin

Lance Stroll

Fernando Alonso

Haas

Kevin Magnussen

Nico Hulkenberg

AlphaTauri

Yuki Tsunoda

Nyck de Vries

Williams

Alex Albon

Logan Sargeant*

*Logan Sargeant still requires a superlicence

F1 world champions Red Bull keep an unchanged line-up for the third straight season with Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, while there are also no movements at Mercedes with Lewis Hamilton and George Russell as well as at Ferrari with Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.

But as the top three teams keep unchanged driver line-ups, there are plenty of shake-ups elsewhere.

Sargeant hopes to join Williams if he gains the requisite superlicence points

Sargeant hopes to join Williams if he gains the requisite superlicence points

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Following Sebastian Vettel’s retirement at the end of 2022, Fernando Alonso made the shock move to Aston Martin to join Lance Stroll, leaving a gap to fill at Alpine.

After the contract saga that saw Oscar Piastri on his way to McLaren to replace the ousted Daniel Ricciardo in the garage bay next to Lando Norris, Alpine opted for Pierre Gasly from AlphaTauri to form an all-French connection with Esteban Ocon.

PLUS: Why Red Bull freedom and an Alpine switch can define Gasly’s F1 career

In the merry-go-round AlphaTauri moved for Nyck de Vries, Formula E champion and long-time Mercedes reserve, to make his full F1 debut in 2023 having stood in for Alex Albon at Williams at the 2022 Italian GP. De Vries joins next to the retained Yuki Tsunoda.

Williams has retained Albon and is set to replace Nicholas Latifi with rookie Logan Sargeant, but the Formula 2 racer still needs to secure a sufficient amount of FIA superlicence points to be allowed to join the F1 grid in 2023.

Haas has replaced Mick Schumacher with Nico Hulkenberg to slot in alongside Kevin Magnussen.

Alfa Romeo keeps an unchanged line-up for Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu, having been the only team to make a wholesale change in 2022.

2023 F1 car launch dates

With just the sole pre-season test taking place in 2023, F1 teams already have a firm date in sight on when their new cars need to be ready to run on the 23-25 February.

Currently, none of the F1 teams have announced their 2023 launch plans.

No launch dates for the 2023 F1 cars have yet been revealed

No launch dates for the 2023 F1 cars have yet been revealed

Photo by: Alpine

2023 Formula 1 car – stats, design and speed

The aerodynamic regulations were redefined for the 2022 F1 season, introducing a return to a ground-effect formula for the first time since 1982.

This was in a bid to reduce the current reliance on wings for downforce, blamed for the “dirty air” that has made close-quarters racing difficult in modern times, and instead put much of the onus on the floor and its added venturi tunnels to develop downforce.

Regulatory changes also included the switch to 18-inch tyres for 2022, bodywork around the wheels, and a complete cull of bargeboard devices to produce the desired effect in terms of racing.

With a smaller wake expected, DRS was retained for the 2022 ruleset to mitigate the reduced slipstream effect on the straights, a natural by-product of the change in aerodynamics.

Despite the changes, the cars were generally only a second slower overall than in 2021. Although the 2022 cars struggled more in comparison to their predecessors, their pace in the higher-speed corners largely addressed some of the gap.

One of the biggest problems caused by the changes was in the emergence of porpoising and bouncing, a phenomena where the car would oscillate on the straights. This caused discomfort and a lack of visibility for the drivers.

Porpoising is a returning feature of the ground effect aerodynamics and is a function of activating the car’s heave frequency, while bouncing is a mechanical response to changes in the road surface caused by the suspension’s stiffness.

The FIA thus introduced changes for 2022 and 2023 to mitigate that, starting with an Aerodynamic Oscillation Metric (AOM) to ensure that teams were not taking liberties with the cars’ aerodynamic set-ups at the expense of safety.

Teams have to ensure their cars do not exceed the tolerances set down by the AOM

Teams have to ensure their cars do not exceed the tolerances set down by the AOM

Photo by: Alfa Romeo

An FIA-standard accelerometer already fitted to each car is used to determine whether a car meets the AOM set out by the FIA, the base metric placed at 10 J/kg/100km as its upper limit. Each car will have its mean AOM calculated from an “eligible” lap, which does not include in-laps, out-laps and safety car laps.

The FIA can disqualify the driver of a car that surpasses that metric, although the teams have three get-out-of-jail-free cards to play.

For 2023, there will be floor changes to ensure that any wild oscillations are kept firmly in check, as detailed in the section below.

2023 F1 calendar

Date

Race

Venue

5 March

Bahrain GP

Sakhir

19 March

Saudi Arabian GP

Jeddah

2 April

Australian GP

Melbourne

16 April

Chinese GP

Shanghai

30 April

Azerbaijan GP

Baku

7 May

Miami GP

Miami

21 May

Emilia Romagna GP

Imola

28 May

Monaco GP

Monaco

4 June

Spanish GP

Barcelona

18 June

Canadian GP

Montreal

2 July

Austrian GP

Red Bull Ring

9 July

British GP

Silverstone

23 July

Hungarian GP

Hungaroring

30 July

Belgium GP

Spa-Francorchamps

27 August

Dutch GP

Zandvoort

3 September

Italian GP

Monza

17 September

Singapore GP

Singapore

24 September

Japanese GP

Suzuka

8 October

Qatar GP

Lusail

22 October

United States GP

COTA

29 October

Mexican GP

Mexico City

5 November

Brazilian GP

Interlagos

18 November

Las Vegas GP

Las Vegas

26 November

Abu Dhabi GP

Yas Marina

F1 will hold its biggest-ever calendar in 2023, with 24 races scheduled for next season, up from the 22 races held in 2022 – which was initially set to be 23 races before the Russian GP was cancelled.

Returning to the calendar are the Chinese GP and the Qatar GP, absent due to COVID-19 restrictions in China and the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, plus an all-new addition of the Las Vegas GP.

PLUS: How Vegas went from byword for F1 indifference to grand Liberty coup

While F1 has raced in Las Vegas before, at Caesars Palace in 1981-82, the new purpose-built Las Vegas complex will see the series race around the most iconic landmarks in the city.

Hermann Tilke has been tasked with designing the new Las Vegas track

Hermann Tilke has been tasked with designing the new Las Vegas track

Photo by: Evgeny Safronov

Tweaks to the 2023 schedule see the Azerbaijan GP return to an early spring slot having previously been held in June, while the Belgium GP has been pushed forward to before the August summer break to avoid a triple-header after the summer break with the Dutch and Italian rounds.

There will also be six sprint races in 2023, up from three in the previous two seasons, although it is unknown which events will host changed race format.

When is F1 pre-season testing?

F1 2023 pre-season testing will take place on 23-25 February at the Bahrain International Circuit. This will be the first chance to see the new cars and drivers in action.

The three-day test is expected to take its regular format of eight hours of running each day – four hours in the morning and four hours in the afternoon split up by a one-hour break – with one car per team allowed to run at any one time. All 20 F1 drivers, plus any test and reserve drivers, will be in action at the test.

2023 Formula 1 rule changes

The 2023 specification of ground-effect floors will be raised by 15mm to minimise the quantity of teams running their cars as low as possible and risking safety concerns caused by vertical oscillations. This was originally proposed as a 25mm rise, but pushback from the teams has lessened the overall change in floor edge height.

This includes more stringent flex tests to ensure that teams are not using elasticity in the floor to run the edges closer to the ground, while the diffuser throat height has been raised to reduce the aero sensitivity under the car.

Following Zhou Guanyu’s accident at the British Grand Prix in 2022, the rollhoop regulations have also been revised to improve the strength and reduce the possibility that the rollhoop may dig into the ground.

Thus, the top of the rollhoop must be rounded to counteract that possibility, while homologation tests will be changed to incorporate a minimum loading point, along with a horizontal test to ensure the rollhoop does not rip away.

Each car will also be kitted out with larger mirrors to improve rearward visibility, and some teams have already tested these in practice sessions. These will be extended from 150mm x 50mm to 200mm x 60mm.

Cars must pass more stringent rollhoop tests after Zhou's Silverstone crash

Cars must pass more stringent rollhoop tests after Zhou’s Silverstone crash

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

There will also be six sprint races in 2023, up from three in the previous two seasons, although it is currently unknown which events will host the shorter race format.

The cost cap is expected to drop in 2023 to around $135m for the year, down from the $142.4m allowed in 2022 – as the initial $140m figure was increased to include inflation.

Red Bull was found to have transgressed the $145m cost cap from 2021, with an overspend of around $2m, and this netted the team a $7m fine and a 10% reduction in aerodynamic testing.

2023 Formula 1 aerodynamic testing rules

F1 has introduced a sliding scale pertaining to the windtunnel and CFD testing time that cuts the amount of testing allowed depending on a team’s championship placing in 2021.

The base figures supplied allow a team within one aerodynamic testing period (ATP, of which there are six in a season) 320 windtunnel runs, 80 hours of wind-on time, with teams allowed to spend a total of 400 hours within the windtunnel.

The percentage values apply depending on where each team finishes. Finishing first in the constructors’ standings rewards a team a multiplier of 70%, meaning a team’s time in the windtunnel is handicapped, and finishing 10th comes with a 115% multiplier, meaning they get more time available. CFD terms work on the same basis.

Red Bull

1st in WCC (70%)

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

6th

7th

8th

9th

10th

Success multiplier

100%

63%

70%

75%

80%

85%

90%

95%

100%

105%

110%

115%

Windtunnel Runs (#)

320

201.6

224

240

256

272

288

304

320

336

352

368

Wind On Time (hours)

80

50.4

56

60

64

68

72

76

80

84

88

92

WT occupancy (hours)

400

252

280

300

320

340

360

380

400

420

440

460

Geometries (#)

2000

1260

1400

1500

1600

1700

1800

1900

2000

2100

2200

2300

CFD Solving (MAuh)

6

3.78

4.2

4.5

4.8

5.1

5.4

5.7

6

6.3

6.6

6.9

Windtunnel runs are defined as any defined period between the airspeed rising and falling above and below 5m/s.

Wind on time refers to the amount of time a team can run with a wind speed higher than 15m/s.

The FIA defines windtunnel occupancy as “the first shift of occupancy will be deemed to commence the first time the windtunnel air speed is above 5m/s on a given calendar day, and will end at a time, declared by the Competitor, when the windtunnel air speed falls below 5m/s”.

Red Bull was given a 10% reduction in windtunnel time for a cost cap infringment

Red Bull was given a 10% reduction in windtunnel time for a cost cap infringment

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Geometries refer to discrete models used within a computational fluid dynamic simulation. Any change to an existing model or the application of any new geometries will consume the appropriate quantity within the allocation.

The CFD solving limits are defined as a function of the time spent in seconds processing a simulation, number of cores used, and processing power in GHz. This is given the unit “Mega allocation unit hours”.

Red Bull’s 10% reduction stacks with the already applied multiplier at 70-percent, and thus equates to 63% of the base allocation.

PLUS: How much will Red Bull’s aero testing penalty really hurt?




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