Formula One Launch Events Wrap-Up Ahead Of Bahrain Testing
Teams set out their stalls Prior To One-off Pre-Season Testing Session
With all ten Formula 1 teams having now revealed their car and driver line-ups, focus now turns to Bahrain and the only pre-season test event for the 2023 season.
Taking place just one week ahead of the March 5 season opener at the Bahrain International Circuit, fans and teams alike will get to see if the off-season can allow teams to build upon their slick pre-season reveal events. With a shake-up of team personnel, getting to grips with new regulations and financial-cap penalties hitting teams, could make for one of the most competitive in years.
With Harrington Finance located in the heart of British F1 territory, just a stone’s throw from the Silverstone Circuit, home of Aston Martin F1 and close proximity to both Mercedes’ AMG Brixworth factory and Redbull Racing’s Milton Keynes home, we can’t help but root for our neighbours.
Oracle Redbull Racing
Oracle Red Bull Racing were the first of our local teams out of the blocks to reveal their 2023 line-up. The unveiling of the RB19 was tentative on detail, as they rolled out what appeared to be a near replica of last-seasons vehicle with minor livery and wing updates.
The event taking place in New York showcased it’s coming partnership with Ford, thus moving away from its long-term partner Honda who announced their withdrawal from Formula 1 in 2020. The announcement signals Fords return to F1 for nearly 20 years and outlined an agreement that will supply engines for the Milton Keynes-based team from 2026 to at least 2030.
The Honda-powered RB19 will be the weapon of choice for reigning champion Max Verstappen and teammate Sergio Perez. Having taken both the drivers and construction championship last season, the team will be gunning for a repeat this coming season if they can overcome financial sanctions defaulted from research and development overspend in 2021.
Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1
With Aston Martin Formula One Team executive chairman Lawrence Stroll calling its new headquarters ‘a gamechanger’, the Silverstone-based team is putting it’s money where its mouth is with an indication of the teams ambition to improve upon a lacklustre 2022-2023 season.
Adding double world champion Fernando Alonso to their driver line-up sets the tone for a team looking to improve across the board. The fiery Spanish driver will be expected to carry the load in putting points on the board, as well as utilising his experience to hold himself and the team accountable to high standards in development and race performance.
The team took the opportunity to reveal is AMR23 vehicle for the new season in one of its three new buildings situated at its Silverstone Formula development hub. The facility combining design and manufacturing divisions along with a wind tunnel, will form the foundation of pushing the team forward as it looks move up the rankings after peaking with sixth place finishes in the 2022 season. The reveal showcased a dynamic revision of its front end and aerodynamic approach, seen as a key area for potentially huge performance inroads as a result of teams finally coming to grips with rule changes from last season.
Mercedes AMG Petronas F1
Mercedes AMG F1 will have their targets firmly fixed on the F1 title after a season that by their own standards will be seen as a poor one. After winning six of the previous seven titles before the 2021 season, the seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton experienced his first winless season of his career.
Partnering Hamilton will once again be George Russell who provided Mercedes’ only win of the 2022 season. A strong driver line-up is completed by the addition of test driver Mick Schumacher, newly acquired after his departure from the Haas F1 Team.
The 2023 Mercedes W14 cuts an imposing presence with its black un-painted carbon bodywork. The weight saving measure not only stand out from the crowd but highlights the minute improvements in performance F1 teams look to squeeze out of their car over their rivals.
With both Hamilton and team principal and CEO Toto Wolff being coy about their chances of success going into the new season, you have to ask yourself if this a case of duping other teams, or realistic expectations coming from a usually bullish Mercedes top brass.
As we see it, the 2023 Formula One season could shape up to be one of the more interesting in recent years. With a lot of noise being made around car and driver reveals along with some reshuffling of the F1 deck with some big behind the scenes personnel names on the move. When it comes down to performance and a hint of what the new season offers, the cards are still close to the chests of the main players.
Testing in Bahrain will offer us more insight to the technical and performance side of what might lie ahead for each of the ten teams and their drivers. With a few big names having points to prove and heavy investment from the middle of the pack teams, expect them to come out swinging and bumping off a few of the bigger fish along the way.
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