Finally, we’re there. The flag’s about to drop for the start of the 2023 Formula 1 World Championship. All the pre-season posturing will shortly be replaced with the hard facts of racing.
We just have to wait for Q3 at Bahrain International Circuit to really get an insight on who’s been talking absolute sh!te.
In the talking absolute sh!te category, Fernando Alonso already has an unassailable points lead. Chalking up another victory when he suggested that it “hurt a lot” being deprived of Lance Stroll’s feedback. For Alonso’s sake I’ll assume he was referring to the team decision as to whether they should have lemon or Earl Grey for Elevenses.
Those of you who are not aware, Stroll the younger came off his tricycle recently, sustaining a twisted notion of his driving ability i.e., that he could contribute to the AMR23’s development. Fortunately, his alarm clock went off, and he realised it was all a dream.
Poor Oscar Piastri. After dismissing Alpine last summer for the orange side, predictions are now rife that he doesn’t do what Mark Webber printed on the tin.
Parc Ferme suggested last July that his CV flattered to deceive. However, unlike Lance Stroll, Zak Brown has known for some time this is not a dream. A couple of months back, he was already briefing the press that Piastri was a little “race rusty”. More recently, he added that we should not expect much from him in his first year. Come back Daniel, I didn’t mean it!
Meanwhile I’ve heard Lando Norris has been practicing holding his breath. Not to count to ten before losing his sh!t over the MCL60’s lack of performance, but so he doesn’t choke on the fumes and tyre smoke when the lights go green. To add insult to injury, Williams are now bed mates with McLaren’s ex – Gulf Oil. It could all get a bit uncomfortable when they meet up at the rear.
Race, win, repeat
If anyone thinks Red Bull are not going to be kicking the doors in 2023 then they’re a bit naïve. They’re the most complete package in the F1 Paddock: driver, car, principal, and associated personnel.
The only team that could possibly spoil their party is Mercedes. On a team basis, the eight-time F1 Constructors’ Champions are equally matched with the Melton Keynes outfit and actually have a stronger driver line up courtesy of George Russell.
However, what we still need to discover is do they have the car? Hmm, I don’t think they’re there yet. Last year they defied gravity with the W13. If they can switch on the W14, then it will put a real crimp on Red Bull’s day.
There is one certainty though for Mercedes; if Lewis Hamilton wins an eighth Title, then he will retire on the spot. There maybe a few people around that might help him in this quest, just so they can see the back of him!
I’m a big fan of Fred Vasseur. If anyone can get Ferrari back to their winning ways, it’s him. I’m sure the SF-23 is good, and they also have strong driver line up, although not in the Red Bull/Mercedes league. However, I’m not convinced they are going to be at their best just yet. I’m sure there’s still a bit of bloodletting to go before Fred gets a halter on the prancing horse and brings it under control.
This is the word you’re most likely to hear over the radio when Alpine ask one of their drivers to give way to the other. The all-French team from Enstone. Enstone UK? Come on guys get yourself to Paul Ricard and finish the job!
Known for not being BFF’s Pierre Gasly & Esteban Ocon should provide at least a couple of F1 comedy gifts this season. However, I expect the car to punch hard in the mid field and if these two can manage to work together they might surprise us. Hopes spring being eternal of course.
Meanwhile, if it all goes to “merd”, they can blame it on hemorrhoids, Blücher or Enstone and the Roast Beefs who work there. Bon Chance Alpine.
Finally, I have to revisit Aston Martin before I end my missive. F1 pre-season testing suggested they’re going to be in the top four mix. Well let’s see. To be honest I would be happy to witness Alonso battling it out at the front again. If the car’s good enough, he’ll be there for sure. That is, as long as he’s not the recipient of one of “junior’s” best racing moves. Gentlemen, start your engines!