Inside Line: Formula 1 in a good place ahead of 2023 season

formula 1 flag f1 future

Barring the politics, which we shan’t mention at all in this piece, Formula 1 is probably in the best place I can remember since it became my religion back in 1973.

Sure there are some annoying things such as: less than 12 teams, DRS, a lopsided playing field, only three teams capable of winning etc. Other than these ‘fixables’ it is proper boom-time for our sport as fans lap it up and we are graced with a Class of ’23 which has golden era written all over it.

We have great drivers, with great stories, ten household name teams pumping out non-stop content to feed our insatiable appetite for news, info and debate, these ‘actors’ in the show right now are as good as it has ever been.

Although three teams have dominated the podiums since 2010, Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull. They have also been home to the sport’s greatest drivers including former King of Formula 1, Lewis Hamilton, whose crown now sits on the head of Max Verstappen.

Chasing the two hard is a posse of inspiring talent, including the likes of George Russell, Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris, Carlos Sainz, Nyck de Vries – the future of F1 is here, now and it is in safe hands, from a drivers’ sense. And already the next generation is stepping up to the plate in the form of Oscar Piastri and Logan Sargeant.

While veterans like Fernando Alonso, Sergio Perez, Valtteri Bottas and Hamilton add to the intrigue as they hang in there, squaring up to the younger generation for one or two more seasons; each year more important than the other as unstoppable retirement looms.

I can hardly remember a F1 season with so many great young drivers on the grid

Formula 1 teammate wars in 2023

Thus for me why it is insane the thought of not adding one or two more teams, thus two or four more drivers to the grid. You get the drift I am sure, in other words I will be beating that drum this season.

If there is a downside, it is on the team front. Is F1 the pinnacle of the sport if the existing ten teams do not allow others to enter the ring? There are so many racing organisations, not in F1, that dwarf the likes of Haas and the current Williams team, even AlphaTauri for that matter.

Andretti Global is one of them. What about Penske? What of Toyota Gazoo, and Porsche? If they don’t have a way to get in, then F1 calling itself the pinnacle of the sport is false advertising. F1 is about the best of the best, and I only count four or five truly best teams in the world in the 2023 F1 line-up.

However, history shows that F1 has seldom if ever, had more than two or three teams capable of winning in one season. In fact, three teams trading paint at the front is a luxury fans have not often had.

And on that note, although the cars of today would probably all look pretty much the same if they were white, but they are sexy, fast and racy. They tick all the boxes, relative to their predecessors, although the gap from the Haves to the Have Nots has remained pretty much the same

But, at least we have a ‘six-pack’ of very exciting drivers who should slug it out this season. And a midpack of half a dozen teams split by a blink of an eye. Exciting stuff.

As for how will be in 2023, who knows? For sure Verstappen will be the man to beat

Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez seen Inside Line: State of Formula 1 ahead of the 2023 season. // Red Bull Racing / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202301310390 // Usage for editorial use only //

Such was his form at the end of last year, Max is sure to be setting the pace with the others chasing. Will he dominate again? Have Mercedes found a magic switch? Nouveau Ferrari, any better?

Mercedes, Ferrari, and Red Bull will most likely share the spoils again and one hopes that Verstappen (even he does!) and his team can be reigned in this year… But mention Adrian Newey, and say no more.

Throw into that a bunch of intriguing teammate match-ups with the proviso that “to win, you have to first beat your teammate” means for some exciting stuff. VER vs PER we know that one. HAM vs RUS, LEC vs SAI can go either way.

Of the Rest, aka Formula 1.5, or second division or whatever you want to call the ‘non-capable-of-winning-unless-six-cars-crash-out’ brigade, we have McLaren, Alpine, Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, AlphaTauri separated by nothing, with Haas and Williams playing catch-up.

Honestly hard to see that scenario changing, but within that world, there are also driver line-ups that are sure to entertain, eg, k-Mag and The Hulk, Fernando and Lance; how about the rookies? Has any driver had so much pressure to perform than Oscar Piastri? How good will The Sargeant be?

In a nutshell, we are going to be spoiled. On the track we have a salubrious year in store, with huge potential to be a cliffhanger should all the stars align.

However, on the very downside, threatening to overshadow what happens on track are the politics that have the sport’s powerbrokers squaring up, F1 drivers being muzzled and…

Oops! I said I would not mention the politics, that’s for another time. So strap yourself in for the ride, and enjoy the 2023 Formula 1 season with us!