2023 F1 testing is here, and that means we got to see all 10 challengers for the new campaign out there on the track.
It is always one of the most exciting times of the year when we get our first look at the team’s new creations, as the covers come off the innovations and we start to get a clearer picture of how F1 2023 will look.
And with only three days of running in Bahrain before the teams head into the season-opener there, it really is a case of time is of the essence.
So, let’s take a look at the 10 challengers which will contest the F1 2023 season…
Red Bull were one of the teams that opted for a livery reveal only with their F1 2023 challenger, so there was great intrigue when the covers came off and the real RB19 hit the track.
The sidepods were the main point of attraction on the RB19, featuring an undercut that goes up to the middle of the car, a unique feature on the F1 2023 grid.
Lewis Hamilton was seen checking out the RB19, the Brit hoping that his Mercedes W14 will take him back into that title picture for F1 2023, with Red Bull expected to remain the team to beat.
And it is not only rival cars that are a threat to Red Bull’s bid to retain their titles, as their additional reduction in wind tunnel time due to a 2021 cost cap breach will only make the challenge of staying ahead that bit harder.
Speaking of Mercedes, the W14 in its full-carbon black was also pumping in the laps, Mercedes deciding to stick with their zero-pod concept for their latest challenger, which also sports unique bodywork around the engine cover area.
After the W13 failed to mount a title challenge, Mercedes are looking to make it a short-lived absence from that scene via their W14.
With many expecting the RB19, W14 and Ferrari SF-23 to combine to create a three-way title battle in F1 2023, the pressure is on not to disappoint.
Right, let’s take a look at the SF-23 then, a challenger which visually shares many similarities to the F1-75, but one that in reality is a “complete redesign” of that challenger which gave Ferrari a sniff of the title scene once more.
An increase in vertical downforce to help with balance, plus a suspension, front wing and nose redesign have all been completed, complemented by a “more extreme” version of the bodywork that distinguished the F1-75.
With the SF-23, Ferrari will hope to make 2022 nothing more than a false start in their pursuit of fresh title glory, having been starved of it since 2008.
Alpine are determined to close the gap to that leading trio in F1 2023, with glimmers of hope around the paddock that they could even trouble the big hitters in their respective title pursuits.
One of the most improved teams from season start to end in 2022, Alpine has switched from a pullrod to pushrod rear suspension with the A523, with the associated benefits worth up to 0.3 seconds as say the team. The A523 also sports a flatter nose and structurally different front wing, plus a deep gully that feeds airflow running down the length of the sidepod.
The aim for Alpine then is to retain P4 in the 2023 Constructors’ Championship, this time with greater conviction, while a return to the podium is also on the agenda. Their all-French line-up of Esteban Ocon and new recruit Pierre Gasly will be tasked with delivering the goods.
McLaren have been a tad downbeat about their MCL60, believing that an early upgrade is needed to get it to a point where they are fully happy. The team made sure during their filming run in Bahrain ahead of the test to blur footage around the floor area, though this is now of course on full show with testing underway.
A return to winning ways is the goal for the years to come, so after slipping to P5 in the 2022 Constructors’ standings, McLaren will hope to start trending in the right direction again in F1 2023, sporting an exciting driver line-up as highly-rated rookie Oscar Piastri joins the experienced, proven, yet still young Lando Norris.
If the Alfa Romeo C43 is looking a bit like the Red Bull RB18 to you, well, that is because they did use the design of that dominant F1 2022 challenger as inspiration for their C43.
The main reason for this was to resolve cooling issues which had caused the C42 retire on four occasions last season.
Having started out in F1 2022 with a challenger that put them right at the front of the midfield, Alfa Romeo will be hoping that there is no slipping back from those lofty heights this time around, having declined as the past season went on.
Aston Martin did not go with the safe option of a livery reveal, instead showing off their true AMR23 from the start, and it looks great out on the track.
A challenger which is bold in its design, testing did not start on the best of notes for Aston Martin as an electronics issue forced Felipe Drugovich to grind to a halt on Thursday morning after just a few corners.
Testing though is designed to find such niggles, and with Fernando Alonso now a part of their line-up, Aston Martin are expected to take a step closer this season towards the victories which they crave down the line.
Haas were the first to reveal their livery with the VF-23, and then one of the last to show off the real thing as the covers were removed from the true challenger ahead of the green light for pre-season testing in Bahrain.
The VF-23, as expected, shares similarities with the look of their customer team and technical partner Ferrari’s SF-23.
And with the experienced combination of Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen, the goal in F1 2023 is to progress up the midfield after a P8 finish in the Constructors’ last season.
AlphaTauri are a team under pressure in F1 2023, but that pressure is coming from within the family, specifically their sister team Red Bull’s advisor Helmut Marko.
After AlphaTauri finished P9 in the 2022 Constructors’, ahead of only Williams, Marko said this was nowhere near good enough and threatened that changes could be made.
So, with Nyck de Vries brought in to take the seat vacated by Gasly, alongside Yuki Tsunoda who is now entering his third F1 season, the team best hope that they deliver on their goal of regular points finishes in F1 2023.
We did not quite get the Gulf-inspired livery that we quietly hoped for when Williams announced that link-up ahead of F1 2023, but nonetheless, the FW45 is looking sleek and stylish, Williams continuing with their decision midway through last season to abandon the sidepod design inspired by their technical partner Mercedes.
For F1 2023, Alex Albon partners American rookie Logan Sargeant, and with former Mercedes strategy chief James Vowles now team principal at Williams, the team will be looking to avoid another campaign where they prop up the Constructors’ Championship.