What’s new for 2023? Your guide to the F1 season ahead · RaceFans

With a raft of technical regulation changes, a third race in the United States, further porpoising solutions and more racing than ever, the 2023 Formula 1 season is among the most anticipated for many years.

To keep track of what is new for this year’s upcoming season, here is a quick guide to the biggest changes to F1 ahead of the 74th world championship.

drivers

There are six names in new seats for the 2023 season, including three drivers who will be embarking on their rookie campaigns at the highest level.

2021 F2 champion Oscar Piastri wants to make his debut

The most high-profile move is the one involving the least experienced driver on the grid, as Formula 2 champion Oscar Piastri makes his debut with McLaren after a dramatic split from Alpine.

His arrival at the team comes at the expense of Daniel Ricciardo, whose contract was ended by McLaren a year early. With no race seat for this season, Ricciardo has returned to his original home at Red Bull to act as a reserve and demonstration driver for 2023.

Alpine had a vacancy to fill after Fernando Alonso decided to leave for Aston Martin, and the team signed Pierre Gasly once the courts confirmed that Piastri was not obliged to race for them this season. Gasly’s former seat at AlphaTauri has now been filled by Formula E champion Nyck de Vries, who impressed with his unexpected grand prix debut in Monza.

The final change to the grid is at Williams, where American driver Logan Sargeant will debut after finishing fourth in the 2022 F2 season as a rookie.

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team principals

There have been just as much musical chairs with team principals as with the drivers, and some chairs are yet to be filled.

Vasseur wants to lead Ferrari

Mattia Binotto kicked things off by resigning from his position at Ferrari, and Frederic Vasseur was signed to take his place from the start of 2023. That left Vasseur’s old team Alfa Romeo in need of a replacement – ​​who they still haven’t found.

But Alfa Romeo did manage to poach McLaren’s team principal Andreas Seidl to act as Sauber’s new CEO and lead their transition into Audi, thus leaving McLaren in the same leaderless position as Alfa Romeo. But they immediately promoted Andrea Stella as their new team principal, ensuring they would not spend a single day of the off-season without a leader.

Williams, however, are in that position, as the relieved team principal Jost Capito and technical director Francois-Xavier Demaison and currently have not yet named replacements for either of those positions.

races

The 2023 F1 calendar is the longest in the series’ history, with 23 grands prix and six further sprint races in a schedule running from March to November.

The Bahrain Grand Prix once again kicks off the racing action, and holds pre-season testing too, with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in its traditional season-ending slot on 26th November.

Mercedes, 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix launch, 2022
F1 wants to return to Las Vegas in 2023

The Singapore Grand Prix will run around a slightly shortened layout as construction work begins on the section of the circuit around ‘The Float’ that saw the drivers drive past the water and then under the grandstand. The track will return to its original layout once work is completed following the multi-year development.

A return to Losail for the Qatar Grand Prix, which appeared on the calendar in 2021, brings the season to a record-length 23 events, and the number of sprint races has gone from three to six, being held in Baku, Red Bull Ring , Spa, Losail and Interlagos.

There’s also an expansion to three races in the United States, as the Las Vegas Grand Prix joins the schedule as the penultimate race of the year on 18th November – the first grand prix to be held on a Saturday in decades.

F1 teams will have two sets of triple-header race weekends, the first being Imola, Monaco and Barcelona in May and June. Then near the end of the season, another triple-header will take place across Circuit of the Americas, Mexico City and Interlagos in October and November.

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New rules: financial, sporting & technical

After the major technical regulations changes for 2022, teams will naturally have been relieved to have relatively static regulations for which to design their 2023 cars for.

However, there are some minor but not insignificant changes to the technical regulations for this year. In a bid to reduce the severe aerodynamic porpoising seen with the ground effect cars at the start of last season, the FIA ​​has introduced tougher and more stringent floor deflection tests to measure how much car floors are flexing under aerodynamic load.

Red Bull RB18 wing mirror, Hungaroring, 2022
Mirrors will be made larger this season

Teams will also have more freedom under the regulations to alter their homologated gearbox designs for 2023 “in the case of materials, processes or proprietary parts becoming unavailable or having their use restricted for health and safety reasons.”

Mirrors have also been made larger to reduce blind spots, while car roll hoops will be strengthened following the collapse of the roll hoop on Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo during his horrifying crash at the start of the British Grand Prix.

In terms of the sporting regulations, there are also some minor tweaks to the rules. The FIA ​​have clarified the procedure for applying grid penalties in the event of large numbers of drivers serving all penalties at the same event, such as at Spa-Francorchamps and Monza last year.

In two rounds this season, Formula 1 will trial a ‘revised qualifying format’. The qualifying format will remain functionally identical, however drivers will only be permitted to run hard tires in Q1, medium tires will be mandatory in Q2 and drivers will only be allowed to use softs in Q3. The system is designed to help make F1’s use of its tire compounds over a weekend less wasteful and more sustainable.

DRS will now be activated after a single lap of green flag racing this season rather than the previous two laps – but only during the sprint races. If considered successful, the FIA ​​will roll out the change to grands prix in 2023.

The final element of the regulations, the financial regulations, will also be slightly revised for the new season. The 2022 budget cap was set at $141.2m for the year with 22 rounds, but in 2023, the total limit for teams will be reduced to $137.4m – assuming the 23 rounds currently confirmed to be taking place go ahead.

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