F1 2023 predictions: Title winners, team-mate battles, driver moves and much more

F1 2023 predictions, PlanetF1.com featured image.

Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen and Fernando Alonso side by side.

Oh boy, it’s that stage of the year where we either make ourselves look very smart or very stupid at the end of year. It can only be F1 2023 prediction time!

Oliver Harden is our reigning Champion after beating Michelle Foster in very controversial circumstances last year (nowhere near as controversial as Abu Dhabi 2021, mind) and, just like Max Verstappen, will be looking to keep hold of his crown this season.

Let’s get straight into it, shall we? Here we go…

Who will be Drivers’ World Champion? (1 point)

Mark Scott: I’m going to be incredibly brave and say Max Verstappen. I don’t think he will be as dominant as he was in F1 2022 but he will still do more than enough to become a three-time World Champion by the end of the season.

Michelle Foster: Max Verstappen. Alas there won’t be much competition.

Henry Valantine: If you’re asking me to really put my neck on the line here? Max Verstappen. Can’t really see anyone else getting a sniff, sadly, from an entertainment perspective at least.

Sam Cooper: While it is too easy to predict Max Verstappen as World Champion, I am going to go one further and say he clinches it at the Singapore Grand Prix.

Oliver Harden: Max Verstappen, maybe not as dominant as last year but not far off either. At least 10 wins.

Jamie Woodhouse: I like to think I’m usually bold, or some would say very stupid, with my predictions, but even I can’t see anything other than Max Verstappen becoming a three-time champ.

Thomas Maher: I almost feel obligated to try going against the grain here but… it’s impossible. All the signs are pointing towards a dominant Red Bull, meaning the only person who can beat Max Verstappen is himself. In the unlikely event that Verstappen does have a strangely off-kilter season, I’d nominate Lewis Hamilton to be there or thereabouts.

Who will be Constructors’ World Champion? (1 point)

Mark: As much as I would love to throw in a Ferrari or Mercedes in the hope of a really spicy season, they both (in my view) still have quite a way to go in operating at the same level as Red Bull. I think it won’t be until F1 2024 that we see Red Bull start to look a little vulnerable due to their wind tunnel restrictions.

Michelle: Ferrari. While Max romps to the World title with Sergio Perez backing him up, both Ferrari drivers will be taking points off each other which will put paid to the Drivers’ title but secure the teams’ trophy.

Henry: Red Bull have had the chance to evolve one of the most successful cars of all time over winter with relatively stable regulations, so it’ll take something spectacular to topple them this year.

Sam: I think Red Bull will start strongest but am backing Mercedes to develop more than most so believe it will be closer than last year at least. I think Red Bull do enough early on though to take it but believe the Constructors’ fight will go on longer than the Drivers’. How about a celebration party in Vegas…

Oliver: The best have got even better. Red Bull.

Jamie: While Verstappen will take care of a large chunk of Red Bull’s points scoring, I see Perez hoovering up enough to make it back-to-back Constructors’ titles for Red Bull with relative ease.

Thomas: Red Bull may be the overall slickest in the game right now, but there were some signs of uncharacteristic errors creeping in, operationally, late last year. I’m going to go with Ferrari for the Constructors’ – the combination of Leclerc and Sainz will prove the most consistent pairing.

Who will finish with the wooden spoon in the Constructors’ Championship? (1 point)

Mark: Whilst I think there are finally some signs of life at Williams and F1 2023 won’t be as bleak for them as last year, I still think they are going to finish bottom of the pile unfortunately.

Michelle: Williams. I’d love to say they won’t but I just can’t see them rebounding.

Henry: Williams have made strides again and I reckon they’ll score pretty regular points, but it’s hard to see where they’ll jump above the rest for now.

Sam: I’d imagine a lot of my colleagues are going to say Williams so I shall switch it up a little and plump for AlphaTauri. Two relatively inexperienced drivers and with doubts over the team’s future, I can’t see them improving much on their P9 of 2022.

Oliver: Williams, with their fast-tracked American racer Logan Sargeant and rookie team principal.

Jamie: Williams were a team that rather flew under the radar in testing, just going about their business, which can often be a good sign. I can see AlphaTauri dropping from P9 to last this time around, and we get to see what the consequences of underperformance, previously threatened by Helmut Marko, actually are.

Thomas: As convinced as I am about James Vowles’ competency and abilities, I don’t believe he’ll be able to introduce necessary changes at Williams fast enough to haul them forward from the bottom this year.

Now for your full 2023 Constructors’ pecking order from first to last… (1 point for each correct place)

Mark: Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari, Aston Martin, Alpine, McLaren, Alfa Romeo, AlphaTauri, Haas, Williams.

Michelle: Ferrari, Red Bull, Mercedes, Aston Martin, Alpine, Alfa Romeo, McLaren, AlphaTauri, Haas, Williams.

Henry: Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes, Aston Martin, Alpine, McLaren, Alfa Romeo, Haas, AlphaTauri, Williams.

Sam: Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari, Alpine, Aston Martin, Alfa Romeo, McLaren, Haas, Williams, AlphaTauri.

Oliver: Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari, Aston Martin, Alpine, McLaren, Alfa Romeo, Haas, AlphaTauri, Williams.

Jamie: Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari, Aston Martin, Alpine, McLaren, Haas, Alfa Romeo, Williams, AlphaTauri.

Thomas: Ferrari, Red Bull, Mercedes, Alpine, Aston Martin, Alfa Romeo, Haas, McLaren, AlphaTauri, Williams.

Onto some of the big driver battles…who will score more points: Hamilton or Russell? (1 point)

Mark: I’ll keep the faith in Hamilton but fully expecting Russell not to give him an easy time of it!

Michelle: Hamilton. A) he’s never lost to a team-mate twice, and B) when the Merc improved last season he was the faster of the two most Sundays.

Henry: After the headaches (metaphorical and literal) of the first half of last year, Hamilton regained the upper hand within Mercedes and I reckon he’ll have enough to keep on top of Russell this season.

Sam: I think we will see a different Lewis Hamilton this year and one more than ever determined to fight at the very top of the grid, that fight starts within his own team. Hamilton by 50.

Oliver: Lewis remains the faster of the two, but George is only going to grow stronger in all areas after an excellent first season. Russell.

Jamie: It feels like it depends which Mercedes we get. If it is a deflated team after another difficult start to a campaign, we may see an out of sorts Hamilton once more. But, while I don’t expect the W14 to start as a leading challenger, I see it being a stronger base than the W13, and therefore a fired-up Hamilton scores 40 points more than Russell in F1 2023.

Thomas: Lewis Hamilton. I expect Mercedes to start slowly but develop strongly through the year, and I think Hamilton won’t start the season in the same dazed fashion he did in 2022 (for understandable reasons).

Leclerc or Sainz? (1 point)

Mark: Fred Vasseur has already said he is prepared to side with one driver this season when the time is right to do, and I reckon Charles will be the person to put himself in that position.

Michelle: Leclerc. He’s a World Champ in the making, Sainz isn’t.

Henry: Leclerc edged away from Sainz last season and I reckon it’ll be the same again this time. Charles for me.

Sam: Leclerc for me. I feel this will be the year Ferrari put all their eggs in the Leclerc basket and with good reason as the Monégasque has always looked like the more realistic title contender of the two.

Oliver: Leclerc established once and for all last season that he is the faster, more naturally gifted of the two and, deep down, Vasseur knows it.

Jamie: It seems that in a Ferrari that is sniffing out wins and title challenges, Leclerc has the edge over Sainz, and I see it being no different in F1 2023.

Thomas: Sainz. I don’t think there will be as big a pace difference between the two Ferrari drivers this year, and I believe Sainz will re-find some of the consistency that he left behind last year.

Norris or Piastri? (1 point)

Mark: I absolutely can’t wait to see Piastri in action but I don’t think he will beat Lando, who, in my opinion, belongs in a Red Bull, Ferrari or Mercedes.

Michelle: Norris but Piastri will push him all the way.

Henry: I think there’s potential for fireworks here. Piastri’s junior pedigree is absolutely outstanding – only Charles Leclerc and George Russell have won back-to-back F3 and F2 titles like him – but with Piastri having a year out, Norris’ experience and speed should just about have enough this time.

Sam: I appreciate Oscar Piastri is entering Formula 1 with a potential not seen since Max Verstappen made his debut but I think Norris is, for now, a cut above. Having dispatched the experienced Daniel Ricciardo, I have no doubt Piastri will give him more of a fight but I’m backing Norris to win out over his team-mate.

Oliver: Norris. Piastri will have his rookie moments but also show flashes of irresistible potential to convince Lando to get out of McLaren before he struggles to contain him and his own value begins to fall.

Jamie: 2019 Formula Renault Eurocup title winner, 2020 Formula 3 Champion, 2021 Formula 2 Champion, Piastri is as real as the deal gets. But, while it will be a lot closer than the Norris-Daniel Ricciardo days, I do see Norris’ immense talent and F1 experience seeing him over the line in this 2023 intra-team battle.

Thomas: Norris, for now. Piastri will have some very high moments in the sun, but will suffer from rookie-itis on occasion – excitement that Norris will have better control of.

Ocon or Gasly? (1 point)

Mark: This is the driver battle I am most looking forward to this season. It’s a tough one to predict but I’ll pick Ocon purely because he isn’t the team newbie this year.

Michelle: Gasly. And there’ll be one hell of a team-mate v team-mate crash along the way.

Henry: I’ll do my best to stay away from Duolingo-aided clichés here but I’m feeling a real ‘joie de vivre’ at this line-up and how it’ll pan out. This is going to be so close, but I’m leaning towards Gasly.

Sam: The most exciting team-mate battle on the grid for me. I should start off by saying I massively back the talents of Gasly and have always considered him one of the grid’s better drivers if not quite in that top tier, however, he has not just moved to a new team but a whole new way of working having departed from the Red Bull family for the first time in his career. Therefore, I think it will take a while for him to properly settle and for that reason, I will go for Ocon who has had plenty of years in the Alpine/Renault set-up.

Oliver: The hardest of all to call but the grittiness Ocon showed alongside Alonso, his experience of the team and the memories of Gasly’s last big move going badly will give him the edge in year one.

Jamie: Gasly outscores Ocon, but neither driver covers themselves in glory in the eyes of Alpine in F1 2023. I envisage potential collisions and fallouts coming our way.

Thomas: Ocon. I believe Gasly to be a very fast and capable driver, but I think Ocon shows a steeliness in his persona that will make him the more ruthless when this relationship starts turning less amicable. Gasly’s softer nature will leave him exposed.

And your one word answers for the rest of the driver battles at Red Bull, Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, Haas, AlphaTauri and Williams (1 point each)

Mark: Verstappen, Bottas, Alonso, Hulkenberg, De Vries, Albon.

Michelle: Max, Bottas, Alonso, Magnussen, De Vries, Albon.

Henry: Verstappen, Bottas, Alonso, Magnussen, De Vries, Albon.

Sam: Verstappen, Bottas, Alonso, Magnussen, Tsunoda, Albon.

Oliver: Verstappen, Bottas, Alonso, Hulkenberg, De Vries, Albon.

Jamie: Verstappen, Bottas, Alonso, Hulkenberg, De Vries, Albon.

Thomas: Verstappen, Bottas, Alonso, Hulkenberg, De Vries, Albon.

Predict a driver move ahead of the 2024 season (3 points)

Mark: Mick Schumacher and Daniel Ricciardo are the two drivers I’m focusing on here and I think the former is much more likely to return to the grid in F1 2024 than Ricciardo is. I think he’ll like his break too much. Let’s put Mick back on the grid with Sauber/Alfa Romeo/Audi.

Michelle: Norris will join Red Bull for a tidy sum and Perez will exit F1 stage left. McLaren will turn to one of their Indy stars. And maybe, just maybe, Stroll will also be out with Ricciardo taking his Aston Martin seat.

Henry: On the Mick Schumacher theme, he’s in prime position as Mercedes reserve for their customer teams. If doors shut elsewhere and Logan Sargeant struggles, Williams could be a good way back onto the grid for him.

Sam: I’m going to ignore the obvious Schumacher/Ricciardo contenders so how about something really bold? Perez and Norris swap deal.

Oliver: Leclerc will move to Mercedes to replace the retiring Hamilton. After the success he’s had, Lewis could swallow one lean year. Two at his age – new contract or not – would be tough to take and with Verstappen and Red Bull booked in for more success over the medium/long term, and in the face of an ever-rising Russell, this will be the year the inconceivable happens.

Jamie: Red Bull give us an all-Dutch F1 2024 line-up as De Vries takes the place of Perez, who is demoted to AlphaTauri to partner a prospect that emerges from the Red Bull Junior Team.

Thomas: Perez/Verstappen to negatively spiral, leading to a severing of Perez’s deal. He’s given the option to move to AlphaTauri, or depart, and leaves for McLaren. Norris, frustrated with McLaren, uses a performance-related exit clause to leave Woking and slot in at Red Bull. And Stroll out of Aston Martin.

And finally…what’s your bold prediction for the 2023 season? (5 points)

Mark: Fernando Alonso will finish on the podium at least six times and at least one of those will be a race win.

Michelle: Alpine will beat Aston Martin in the overall standings, it’s two good drivers versus one great one.

Henry: We only saw seven different drivers on the podium last year. With the midfield bunching up, let’s go for some variety and say at least 12 drivers will get a podium this season.

Sam: Jamie Chadwick to take part in an FP1 session.

Oliver: As Alonso’s latest victim, Lance Stroll will decide he doesn’t really want to do this F1 thing any more and make his exit, casting doubt over the future of the Aston Martin project just as the team finally begin to realise their enormous potential.

Jamie: Max Verstappen finishes on the podium at all 23 rounds.

Thomas: Fernando Alonso will get a race win.