Revealed: The F1 2023 team that disappointed us the most this season

Haas 2023 challenger pictured at the United States Grand Prix.

Haas 2023 challenger pictured.

The F1 2023 season saw Red Bull run away with both championships, but others fell far short of their own expectations.

Even though the RB19 was one of the most dominant cars ever seen in the sport, the chasing pack was highly competitive, and the Constructors’ Championship was hotly-fought until the final round.

As for who did not live up to the billing in F1 2023, our writers have had their say, and opinion is split…

Our biggest F1 2023 team disappointments revealed

Mark: This is an easy decision for me and it’s not even close: Alpine. For all of their self-generated hype in recent years they have very little to show for it.

Their position in the 2023 World Championship standings summarises them perfectly as a team. P6, 160 points away from P5 and 92 points clear of P7. Can you get more middle-of-the-road than that? It’s not hard to see why Fernando Alonso and Oscar Piastri saw the grass could well be greener elsewhere.

It would be great to see Alpine mentioned in the same breath as Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren and Aston Martin in that next fight up the ladder but, with their engine set to keep holding back, it’s hard to see how they get themselves out of this limbo state.

Michelle: In keeping with tradition I’m going to say Ferrari. They not only let me down as a fan but also in my pre-season predictions. With a few wins on the board last year I fell for the “car of unprecedented speed” promise in this year’s pre-season hype. And it hurts.

A team that promises so much with their ‘his year will be our year’ proclamations, Ferrari not only failed to deliver on that, they threw away P2. No team had as many non-results as Ferrari except Williams, and they had Logan Sargeant. I expected better, sadly I always do.

Henry: I was leaning towards Alpine, but then I remembered Alfa Romeo. I know it was their last season before heading back to the Sauber name and they’re a team in transition before becoming Audi, but their season felt like the dampest of squibs unfortunately.

They never really looked like threatening Williams for P7 in the Constructors’ this year, Valtteri Bottas admitted his frustration at the team being largely out-developed by almost everyone as the season went on and they could even lay claim to being the backmarker by season’s end, having started the season well in the midfield hunt.

Worst of all, though, is that their year just didn’t seem that memorable, dropping from last year’s total of 55 points and finishing above Aston Martin to collecting just 16 points this time around. Hopefully that changes for their sake next year, even if their focus is quite rightly on 2026 already.

Jamie: I’m picking Haas for this one. A team that took the pain in 2021 to come out firing on all cylinders for the new regulatory era, all momentum has vanished and they are at the bottom of the pile again for F1 2023.

We saw what McLaren, Aston Martin and later AlphaTauri achieved when they dished out the upgrades, yet Haas brought a B-Spec VF-23 to their home race in Austin and it offered little sign of improvement from there on, to the point where Nico Hulkenberg decided to revert to the old version.

There was a lot of talk about this being a learning exercise for F1 2024, so Haas better hope that is the case and such talk is not merely a cover-up.

Sam: I think the most damning indictment of Alfa Romeo’s season was that it was completely forgettable. The team seem to be in a holding pattern until Audi arrive in 2026 but that is still another two seasons away and they surely cannot continue like this.

Valtteri Bottas was more notable for his off-track activities than what he did on it while Zhou Guanyu hardly impressed in his second season.

Thomas: I don’t think any of the top teams had absolute shockers, although Ferrari occasionally continued to drop the ball while Mercedes had some dreadful performance swings. Alpine plodded along in the midfield as usual, but two teams failed to show up this year.

Nico Hulkenberg did his best for Haas this year in a car that Kevin Magnussen failed to gel with, to the point where the team started experimenting with old configurations and setups versus the upgrades – shades of their shocking 2019 all over again.

Alfa Romeo were completely anonymous all year. To the point that, off the top of my head, I struggled to remember a single result or stand-out moment. It’s not that Alfa Romeo were bad, per se, it’s just that they are mired in obscurity.

Added to that is the fact that Bottas, as likeable, dependable and personable as he is, was a known quantity when he joined Alfa Romeo. Having that quantity then lead your team suggests the car is a smidge better than either Bottas or Zhou are extracting from it, in a similar fashion to, say, Lance Stroll at Aston Martin.

It’s for this reason that I’ll give Alfa Romeo the nod over Haas – I reckon Hulkenberg extracted more of his car’s potential to showcase Haas’ true level, than the Alfa Romeo drivers managed.

Oliver: Mercedes: all mouth, no trousers and a once-great team visibly struggling to adjust to their new reality.

The car somehow managed to be even worse than 2022 (at least the bouncing monster was a very occasional victory contender) but it was the operational and organisational slackness that really stood out, resulting in a number of Q1/Q2 exits and not one but two clashes – in qualifying! – between Hamilton and Russell at Barcelona and Spa.

My my, how far standards have slipped since their title-winning peak…

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