Verstappen chasing new record, Perez his first home win

Too Early to call Red Bull 2023 Formula 1 Champions?

Verstappen chasing new record, Perez his first home win

With two drivers clear ahead atop the Formula 1 Drivers’ World Championship and on nearly double the points of the next closest constructor, Red Bull looks to have the title in the bag again in 2023.

Now, there’s a long, long way to go in the season, but Formula One fans have been here before, and the aesthetic is all too familiar.

Few would begrudge anyone calling it a Red Bull win already, even if the Australian Grand Prix showed a divergence from the familiar one-two finish for the Austrian team. Even the £6 million fine and ten per cent reduction on development time doesn’t seem to phase them, with Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur calling it a very low penalty.

Still, even with Red Bull potentially set to cruise to the titles, there’s a lot of action further down the track.

Intriguing battles to be held without Red Bull

Assuming that Max Verstappen continues to blaze his way to another title, with Sergio Pérez often picking up points in second and occasionally third, we can still see a close race for the “best of the rest” on the betting sport markets. Under the Without Red Bull banner, we can see Aston Martin at 5/4, Mercedes at 11/8, and Ferrari at 3/1 to win.

Per the odds, Mercedes are the narrow favourites to finish second to Red Bull. This would likely bank on major improvements being made down the line as well as the thinking that Lewis Hamilton and George Russell are the next-best duo on race day. This is contrary to the set-up of the other leading contenders.

At Ferrari, Charles Leclerc is the clear frontman and the one who could bring podiums, but he has suffered a lot out of the gate in 2023. For Aston Martin, all of the buzz is circling veteran driver Fernando Alonso. He’s been a major component of the Silverstone-based team’s early success and is clearly the top driver.

Of course, this isn’t to belittle the driving of either secondary driver. Both are classy racers and have each put up 20 points through three meets. However, pulling a team up the rankings for constructors requires two drivers in very good cars, both of whom can challenge those at the front of the grid in one-on-one situations.

Which team will win the best of the rest?

They’re not the favourite in the odds, but Aston Martin is the only place to start an early 2023 F1 discussion. The team has heaped praise on the consistency and level-headedness of Alonso, and while the Spaniard is deserving of some credit, a lot of the work came in the offseason. The car reportedly improved in lap time by a massive count of 24.11 seconds.

The transformation at Aston Martin has been incredible and shows the gains that can be made with the right team around the car. In three races, Alonso got on the podium three times, taking the bronze in each. Perhaps setting them back was Hamilton’s second-place finish in Australia, but neither the driver nor the team have been fooled.

Mercedes is digging deep into a new design, taking the break post-Australia as the prime time to make some big changes. As for Ferrari, despite some big personnel changes in the offseason, Leclerc says that they’re off to the worst start ever. With a seventh-place finish and two retires, it’s tough to argue with the Monégasque racer.

Of the three, the turmoil within Ferrari looks to be the main proponent to continued struggles, and unless Mercedes’ design rethink is rather drastic, Aston Martin might just be the team to beat, after Red Bull, in 2023.