After a dominant 2022, Max Verstappen and Red Bull are now firmly installed as favorites for the 2023 F1 racing odds. The Belgian-Dutchman set a season record by winning 15 races, including nine of his final 11. That was not the only piece of history made as Red Bull also finished 1-2 in the driver standings to capture its first constructor title in a decade. With all that, can Verstappen go for a third straight title in 2023?
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Mercedes vs Ferrari: Who Can Challenge Red Bull?
At their current odds, the sportsbook has Verstappen with an implied probability of 58.3 percent (-140) to complete the “three-peat” while Red Bull is at 52.4 percent (-110). Doing so will have Verstappen follow in the footsteps of Sebastian Vettel when he was in his heyday with the constructor.
But Verstappen did have some challenges from the two other leading constructors in Mercedes and Ferrari. While both finished well behind, it is not crazy to think they can dethrone the current champs. Mercedes will still have Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.
The former has put talks of retirement to bed while the latter extended Mercedes’ streak of finishing the season with at least one checkered flag. It was also Russell’s maiden Grand Prix victory. At +135, Mercedes is given a solid shot at rebounding to give Red Bull a stiffer test than it presented in 2022 when it finished 39 points behind Ferrari.
Mercedes opted to “experiment” with a lot of their setups in hopes of finding a solution to beat Red Bull. That resulted in the constructor consistently finishing behind Verstappen, although it managed to consistently finish on the podium.
As for the Italian manufacturer’s team, Charles Leclerc was the main reason they finished second. The Monegasque racer had 11 podium finishes, including three wins. In fact, Leclerc and Ferrari started on top. But strategic mishaps and car malfunctions quickly sunk their chances. As a result, their team principal resigned.
Ferrari’s odds (+600) will depend on how well their new leader will manage the team. Fred Vasseur from Alfa Romeo has emerged as a strong candidate to take over. His team finished sixth, which was its best result since Alfa Romeo returned to F1 in 2019.
Driver and Constructor Changes for 2023
Vasseur or whoever Ferrari’s new boss is won’t be the only new face for this coming season. Several drivers have shuffled, with the most notable being Fernando Alonso replacing Vettel for Aston Martin. These former F1 champions were also run in 2022, but Alonso helped get Alpine extra points as it finished fourth.
Pierre Gasly will, in turn, replace Alonso on Alpine. Gasly will join compatriot Esteban Ocon as the France-based team will now roll with two French drivers. Neither won a race in 2022, although Ocon did win in 2021 and Gasly in 2020.
As for rookies, there will be three: Oscar Piastri for McLaren, Nyck deVries for AlphaTauri and Logan Sargeant for Williams.
Piastri will be replacing Daniel Ricciardo and is the 2021 Formula 2 Champion. DeVries, the 2021 Formula E champion, got a taste of F1 last season by finishing ninth in place of Alex Albon at Monza. Sargeant will replace Nicholas Latifi as the first American driver to compete in F1 since 2015.
In terms of constructor changes, both Red Bull and AlphaTauri are switching back to Honda as their engine supplier (Honda RBPT) until at least the 2025 season.
Calendar, Regulation Changes for 2023
The most notable change to the 2023 F1 calendar is the addition of the Las Vegas Grand Prix. This will be a night course and will be the penultimate race just one week before the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Nov. 26.
The Qatar Grand Prix is also set to return after being absent last season. It is scheduled as the 18th race, between the Japan and United States Grand Prix. And the French Grand Prix will be absent in this upcoming season.
There are also several technical changes, namely F1’s crackdown on “porpoising”. Floor edges would be raised by 15 millimeters (0.59 inches). The diffuser edge stiffness will be increased on top of having additional sensors and stricter lateral floor deflection tests.
The budget cap has also been cut down to $135 million from $140 million ($142.4 after inflation adjustments).
The 2023 calendar will now also feature six sprint events, up from three in 2022. That will mean more races to bet online, beginning with Azerbaijan, the fourth race on the calendar.