What to expect from the 10 teams in F1 2023…in their own words

Toby Miles
McLaren racing director Andrea Stella and Lando Norris. Singapore, September 2022.

Andrea Stella speaks with Lando Norris. Singapore, September 2022.

It’s almost time to put the off-season rumours to bed. Some slight evidence of our F1 2023 challengers’ winter progress is just around the corner.

Lights out is less than two weeks away, with the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 5 following a brief three-day pre-season test at the Round 1 circuit.

While some teams opted for low-key launches that only revealed their liveries in pre-season, the likes of Ferrari were bullish in showing off what they spent the winter grafting to produce.

Each team has faced their own unique challenges in developing a 2023 challenger, but some are sounding more confident about their Bahrain pace than others.

Let’s take a look at the 10 Formula 1 teams’ assessment of their new machines…

Alfa Romeo

The all-conquering, title winning RB18 driven to glory by Max Verstappen immediately became the blueprint for many 2023 cars, and Alfa Romeo are no different.

The Alfa C43 has taken inspiration from Red Bull’s cooling elements in particular, after their Ferrari-supplied power unit became responsible for five of their 10 DNFs.

The C42 started fast but gradually faded – although P6 represented a major step forward. Having made key changes at the rear of their car, Alfa hope to put a greater focus on development through 2023, having been distracted by reliability gremlins last year.

“We identified the root cause, and we are confident that this is behind us,” technical director Jan Monchaux said of the power unit struggles at the team’s launch.

“And we also aim, because it’s one of our biggest priorities, to return in terms of reliability to where Sauber was in the years before, when we were among the best. So lessons learned.”


Alpine produced a rapid race car for 2022, one that held-off McLaren in the fight for P4 and looked to have podium capabilities. However, those top-threes never materialised as Fernando Alonso bore the brunt of reliability weaknesses.

The Renault-owned team admitted they took risks sacrificing due-diligence for raw pace in developing their A522’s power unit. That could pay-off this year, with the FIA’s engine freeze in place and only reliability fixes allowed.

Alpine’s PU chief Bruno Famin blamed the water pump for most of last year’s DNFs and claims their solution has had no negative impact on raw pace. He stated: “We are as confident as we can be.”

Renault CEO Luca de Meo added: “Our ambition is to move closer to the top, we are here for the long term, we are here to create a top team.

“I think they had a good time during the winter, they could work without a lot of issues, and so I’m pretty optimistic that we will continue the path.”

Aston Martin

Much of the off-season speculation has focused on Aston Martin. It is no secret their big investments are intended to deliver Grand Prix victories and despite consecutive P7 finishes, some bullish statements have been made about the AMR23.

Even Christian Horner is hearing “big numbers” coming from Aston, who say they will be out of excuses in the coming years, when construction on a new factory and wind tunnel is completed.

With big updates to their car’s nose and some Red Bull-esque sidepods, Aston Martin’s is one of the most radically changed cars on the grid. While that could bite them in terms of mid-season development, we’re expecting a performance leap in Bahrain.

“We went into this year trying to be bold and aggressive, to try to take on the lessons from last year,” Dan Fallows, technical director at the Silverstone-based team, said at the AMR23’s launch.

“We want to move up the grid and start challenging the teams at the front – and you can’t do that by sitting back and being conservative.”


Possibly the most important question concerning the 2023 championship is this: What have Ferrari been up to this winter?

Judging by the noises coming out of Maranello in pre-season, they’ve been busy. Ferrari’s confidence was clear at their launch, inviting a grandstand full of fans to watch their SF-23 complete its first laps of Fiorano.

CEO Benedetto Vigna wasn’t holding back when he said the SF-23 is “a single-seater that will be unprecedented in terms of speed.”

Ferrari’s chassis chief Enrico Cardile added: “Our 2023 car is an evolution of the one we raced last year. But, in reality, it has been completely redesigned.”

Rumours are circulating that Ferrari have found an extra 30hp through their off-season focus on the power unit, which was a huge let-down in 2022. “Positive feedback” has come in about the adjustments, while new team principal Fred Vasseur said: “We are all optimistic, but only Bahrain will tell us where we are.”


Having been the first team to launch their 2023 livery, Haas finally gave fans a proper glimpse of their VF-23 following their Silverstone shakedown.

With a new title sponsor in MoneyGram, Haas chief Guenther Steiner said they have poured all their funds into development: “We just want to stabilise (our system) and just make sure that we use everything to make the car go quick, nothing else.”

Haas returned to the points-scoring fray with a bang last season as Kevin Magnussen took P5 in Bahrain, but their performance tailed-off into a P8 Championship finish.

The American-backed team have remained tight-lipped about expectations for the car, but they hope new signing Nico Hulkenberg can secure more points finishes.

Technical chief Simone Resta added: “There has been a massive rework of the car – some of the components don’t look radically different – it’s probably more a development of the 2022 car but there is a complete rework of the car involving many, many components.”


“We are happy – not entirely happy for what is the launch car – but optimistic that it should take a good step soon,” new McLaren boss Andrea Stella said at the MCL60 launch. Those words won’t inspire much confidence among fans.

It sounds as if Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri should expect a slow start to the year in papaya. The MCL60 bears the most striking resemblance to the RB18 of any car on the grid, but how the British team develops their machine will be the difference-maker.

McLaren dropped to P5 in the Constructors’ last season, with Norris scoring their only podium. Stella’s focus was “realism” at the launch, immediately looking ahead to an upgrade package in Baku, Round 4 on the calendar.

“I think while we are happy with the development of the car in most of the areas, there is some areas which we realised a little late into the development some really strong directions,” the Italian added.


The 2022 season brought down Mercedes’ unprecedented eight-year dominance of the Constructors’ title. Having been a distant footnote in the Championship fight, will they return to the conversation this season?

Toto Wolff’s comments on launch day offered a clue about Mercedes’ pace in Bahrain: “I see so much effort, motivation, and energy in the organisation to launch a car that will eventually be competitive enough to fight at the very front of the grid.”

Eventually? Wolff clarified that “humility” was behind that statement and that the Merc “will be competitive, I just don’t know when.” Perhaps Mercedes will still have some catching-up to do on Red Bull and Ferrari at Round 1?

They have continued with their zero-pod concept on the W14, confident that the radical design – at odds with rivals – was not to blame for their 2022 porpoising misery.

“We have tried to keep all the goodness of the W13 and address its weaknesses,” Wolff added, defending his team’s “bold” choice not to copy Red Bull’s winning concepts.

Red Bull

The RB18 went down as one of the most dominant Formula 1 machines ever last season. Max Verstappen’s tally of 15 wins was record-breaking. But with so many factors threatening to dent their momentum, can the RB19 maintain its superiority?

Red Bull were already set to have the fewest wind tunnel opportunities thanks to the FIA’s playing field-levelling measures, before their punishment for breaching the 2021 cost cap imposed further restrictions.

Christian Horner praised his team for adapting to the circumstances, but said: “It’s certainly a significant handicap that we carry for the majority of the year.”

Red Bull are still expected to show up in Bahrain with a car capable of winning the Grand Prix, but staying ahead will be their biggest challenge.

Meanwhile, Sergio Perez hinted that the RB19 may be more to his liking. The Mexican admitted his team made mistakes in setup last year, but at the New York launch said: “We believe that the car is already going to be better. I’ve been pushing the team in a certain direction, and we believe we’re heading in that direction.”


While Red Bull’s A-team was off collecting records and Grand Prix victories, its sister team endured its worst season since 2018. While Red Bull have scant wind tunnel time, AlphaTauri have an abundance.

They’ll need to use it, with Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko unimpressed by their 2022 showing: “For their potential, technically and financially, ninth place is not acceptable. They made a lot of mistakes in the strategy. The car had too little downforce.”

To put Marko at ease, technical director Jody Egginton believes the ATO4 is capable of putting new signing Nyck de Vries and Yuki Tsunoda into a competitive position: “We lacked some downforce compared to our main competitors and identified opportunities to reduce mass.”

“Almost all areas of the car represent a strong evolution from the AT03, and great attention was paid to packaging so that we would have the best basis for aerodynamic development.”

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There were positive signs down at Williams during their Silverstone shakedown, with Alex Albon delighted by the off-season progress.

The experienced British-Thai driver told the Williams livestream: “I’m actually really happy. I feel like we’ve addressed some of the problems, it’s always a little bit of a ‘what if’, until you actually drive the real car.

“I don’t want to speak too soon as well, maybe we’re not as good as we think we are, but we’re going in the right direction and that’s the main thing.”

Albon added that the team would look to add more downforce from Bahrain, but positive noises are always welcome at Williams – who have finished 10th and last for four of the last five seasons.

Williams’ head of vehicle performance Dave Robson explained that the FW45 is an “evolution” of last year’s car, which has included downwash sidepods and a more Ferrari-esque nose.