From live demos to snowboarders to football icons: The F1 2023 car launches ranked

Henry Valantine
Ferrari drivers Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc. F1 2023.

Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc pose for pre-season photos with Ferrari. February 2023.

With some unveilings being far more spectacular than others (and some cars being far more representative than others), we thought we would take a light-hearted look back at the F1 2023 car launches and which were the best among them.

Car launches are known for being times to primarily show off how the new breed of Formula 1 cars will look, but it is also a chance for teams to showcase new sponsors, drivers, the absolute works.

Sometimes they can end up being quite corporate affairs, or in the case of McLaren in 1997, you can get the actual Spice Girls to play as the new car is unveiled.

It was a mixed bag once again this time around, so here is our list of where we think the launches ranked in terms of overall ‘wow’ factor, entertainment, and even a sprinkling of how the liveries look overall.

10: Haas

Haas were first to unveil their F1 2023 colours, but they go bottom of this list because releasing pictures of the new livery on a show car doesn’t feel like it should really count under the category of ‘car launch’.

With that technicality, Haas, you’re at the bottom of our rankings, though they did say all along it would only be a livery reveal, so a full-blown car launch was never promised entirely.

9: Red Bull

While the importance of Red Bull announcing their partnership with Ford from 2026 was involved in the launch of the RB19, as was an excellent location in New York City, the fact it took more than 40 minutes before the car itself was unveiled was a bit much – and then after teasing a ‘blank slate’ on social media, the car’s livery looked pretty much identical to its predecessor anyway.

The announcement of worthwhile initiatives such as the opportunity for fans to design three liveries in the United States this season were further added to with interviews with other Red Bull athletes which, respectfully, had nothing to do with Formula 1, which only added to the anticipation – and the subsequent metaphorical damp squib – of the almost exact same look of the car which came later on.

8: AlphaTauri

After the feature-length proceedings from Red Bull, sister team AlphaTauri went for a short and sweet approach in New York the following week, launching the AT04 in time to coincide with New York Fashion Week – with the team’s clothing brand on show.

A two-minute video posted online saw the curtain drop on the launch and the new AlphaTauri’s colours for the F1 2023 season were out, with a splash of red for new sponsors Orlen, but again, minus points offered for it only being a livery launch as opposed to a full car launch.

Full marks for efficiency at least, though the balaclava-wearing models in the background combined with the music and light show made for a slightly eerier/more dystopian-looking spectacle than perhaps the team anticipated…

7: Alfa Romeo

Barring the slight mishap where the livery of the C43 was being shown in the background on screen before the covers had officially been taken off, the Alfa Romeo F1 2023 launch was a pretty solid one all round.

With Valtteri Bottas still sporting his off-season Australian-style locks and facial hair, the Finn was in good spirits as he and Zhou Guanyu launched the red and black car which will take to the track this year – even if it may be slightly tough to distinguish from others on circuit.

6: McLaren

It’s a landmark year for McLaren as they shuffled their chassis naming convention to lean on their history and celebrate their 60th year of racing by launching the MCL60.

And nods to founder Bruce McLaren were aplenty during the relatively short launch, just under 20 minutes in total, which was a perfectly palatable amount of time as the covers were taken off the new car.

A look through McLaren’s illustrious history in a nostalgic video preceded the MCL60 being fully unveiled, which was a timely reminder of the heights to which the team must aspire to reach in the coming seasons.

5: Alpine

It’s hard to know what to do with Alpine’s launch here, but we have put it in the middle of the rankings. Like last year, their BWT affiliation has seen them launch an all-pink livery to be run in the first three rounds of the season, and like Red Bull’s launch, it was quite a long, drawn-out affair at a glitzy event in London prior to the car being unveiled.

But then, out of seemingly nowhere, the team unveiled a new ambassador: French footballing icon, Zinedine Zidane. That’s one way to turn heads in the room and spice up what was an otherwise relatively run-of-the-mill launch proceeding, bringing it further up our rankings.

4: Mercedes

Mercedes launched their F1 2023 challenger and added intrigue by teasing either maintaining silver for the year ahead, or a return to the black-clad cars which they ran in 2020 and 2021.

Interviews with Lewis Hamilton, George Russell, Mick Schumacher and Toto Wolff were followed by the all-black W14 being shown off to the world, and the initial laps of Silverstone later that day kept eyes on Mercedes as they brought their new car to life.

Pretty solid all round from the Silver Arrows.

3: Aston Martin

Full props have to go to Aston Martin for not just unveiling a cracking-looking, real car, but having technical director Dan Fallows go into so much detail about what has changed into the year ahead was another added bonus for those of us interested in this kind of thing.

The arrival of Fernando Alonso at the team was always going to raise interest in this launch, and the relatively quick introduction prior to the AMR23 being unveiled didn’t leave us hanging on for too long either.

The additional touch of being at the team’s new Silverstone factory added to what felt like it could be a landmark moment for the team as it looks to move up the field, with a lot having changed at Aston Martin heading into the F1 2023 season.

2: Williams

For simplicity, speed of unveiling the car, a great livery and a sense of knowing what fans want from a car launch, we had to put Williams right up there this season.

Will Buxton hosted the launch of the FW45, and after the widespread disapproval voiced on social media about Red Bull’s launch, Williams were next up and they did pretty much the opposite of the reigning World Champions, in that they showed off the livery pretty much from the start as their online launch started, followed by interviews with Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant.

No frills, did exactly what it said on the tin and the team have higher hopes for what the F1 2023 might hold. What’s not to like?

1: Ferrari

Bravissimo, Ferrari. Molto bene. Molto, molto bene.

Such was the quality of the Ferrari launch, without exaggeration, the arrival of the SF-23 could be among the best car unveilings we have ever seen.

In case you missed it, a full grandstand of Tifosi greeted the beginning of the launch at Fiorano with a rendition of the Italian national anthem on the violin, to get the full Ferrari-ness of it all into full swing.

But the key part of this launch was not just having fans in attendance, oh no. After the colours of the new Scuderia challenger were unveiled, they were treated to their hopeful F1 2023 title challenger turning a wheel for the very first time just moments later.

In a video played out at the launch, Charles Leclerc won a coin flip to get the first two laps of Fiorano in the new car, with Carlos Sainz getting the consolation of an extra lap by driving it second later in the day, though live team radio from the Spaniard was played out when he was asking Leclerc, or “Lord Perceval” as he called him, how the car felt, for even further access into the day itself.

So not only were fans brought into the launch, with the drivers signing autographs for them as they were introduced, the new car was presented there and then – and people even got to briefly see it in full flight. The joys of owning your own test track, we suppose…

This goes straight to the top of our ranking for a reason, and it was a launch that inspired a hearty reminder of Sebastian Vettel’s now-famous quote: “Everybody’s a Ferrari fan. Even if they are not, they are a Ferrari fan…”