With the 2023 Formula 1 season now just weeks away from the start of the season in Bahrain, we asked ourselves which drivers will be under the most pressure this year. Some will stake their futures, some have yet to start F1, but all will have a lot to prove.
This is the second part of our list of eight drivers who will be under pressure in 2023, the first is available here.
If he beats Charles Leclerc to the championship in his first season with Ferrari in 2021, Sainz was largely dominated by the Monegasque last year, and this F1-75, unlike its predecessor, was a fast single-seater capable of winning. , especially in the first half of the year.
The Spaniard still took his first career success at Silverstone, but even on that day victory looked more deserved for his garage neighbour, the victim of a strategic mistake by the Scuderia in 2022. Ultimately, fifth in the championship, despite being a more efficient single-seater, the same result as his first season in red, the 28-year-old is therefore disappointed overall and will need to recover in 2023.
More and more observers are pushing for Ferrari to promote Leclerc to the lead driver position, and Sainz will thus have to show new Maranello team principal Frédéric Vasseur that he can be counted on for world titles. Otherwise, he might have to settle for a No. 2 role like Sergio Perez at Red Bull.
The 23-year-old Briton is likely to end his best season in Formula 1 with ‘best of the rest’ status in the championship and 2022 on the strength of the only podium to escape the top three teams. In 2023, he will also have pressure.
With the departure of Daniel Ricciardo, whom he has largely dominated for two years, Norris will have to fulfill a new status internally: the team’s most experienced driver. Indeed, from this year, his teammate will be Oskar Piastri, who is two years younger than him. As is often the case in F1, the “veteran” driver often loses more than the rookie.
Because while Norris is the inside favorite in McLaren F1, Piastri has proven in his promotion formulas that he certainly has the potential to have a very good career in F1. And while the Briton has made no secret of his frustration at having a car that didn’t match his talent last year, another mediocre season could affect his motivation. He will have to be careful not to experience Gasli ‘syndrome’, which is very mediocre and unenthusiastic for his final year at AlphaTauri.
Let’s talk about the French driver who is about to start a new chapter in his career in Alpine F1. As mentioned above, the 2020 Italian Grand Prix winner didn’t really shine in his final year with Red Bull, and if that’s understandable given the AT03’s rather poor performance, he’ll have to prove this year that it’s just it was a race. negative parenthesis.
Because his new teammate Esteban Ocon, with whom Enstone has not had the best relationship in the past, will want to show himself as the leader of his team after the departure of Fernando Alonso. The two Frenchmen have very similar experiences (111 GP for Ocon, 108 for Gasly and one win each) and their internal duel already promises to shine.
Gasly’s task will not be easy as Ocon will be in his 5th season with the same team and therefore he is quite established. It is up to him to prove that he can compete with his compatriot, as this is a unique chance to restart his career with the factory team.
As F1’s popularity continues to grow in the US, the first American driver to evolve the discipline since Alexander Rossi in 2015 will have plenty on it in 2023. In addition, three Grands Prix will be contested on American territory. with the arrival of Las Vegas on the calendar this year.
However, Sargent will have the advantage of developing in a healthy context at Williams F1, which finished last in the constructors’ championship in 2022. That is, it will be none other than his teammate Alex Albon. after being out for a year.
At least the American is unlikely to do less than Nicholas Latifi, who is facing great difficulty with the introduction of new aerodynamic rules. But Sargeant, who only finished fourth in the F2 championship last year, presents a lot of uncertainty. It depends on him to respond quickly on the track.