Formula 1 2023 driver line-up: who will race against Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc in Formula 1 season?

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Formula 1 returns this weekend with pre-season testing ahead of Bahrain Grand Prix

The Formula 1 season is nearly upon us after nearly two months without any action on track and this year’s driver line-up has had quite the shake up.

The end of 2022 saw Max Verstappen crowned world champion for the second year in a row while Red Bull finally ended Mercedes dominance in construction by winning their first constructor’s title since 2013.

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We were also forced to say goodbye to two track icons as Sebastian Vettel retired from the sport and Daniel Ricciardo was left without a seat following McLaren’s signing of Oscar Piastri.

Formula 1 will, however, be welcoming three rookies to this year’s paddocks and one returning fan favourite.

So ahead of this weekend’s pre-season testing and next weekend’s first race in 2023, here is all you need to know about the ten teams and 20 drivers in Formula 1…

Red Bull

Christian Horner has led Red Bull since 2005 and has taken them to eleven world titles: Five World Constructors’ Championships and six World Drivers’ Championships.

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Max Verstappen: Dutchman Verstappen won his first ever World Championship title in 2021 with Red Bull. He has been with Red Bull since 2016. He was the youngest-ever driver and first Dutch driver to win a Formula One Grand Prix when he won the 2016 Spanish GP. In 2022, Verstappen beat the record for winning the most races in one season (15). He won nine of the last 11 races, surpassing the previous record (13) held by Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel.

Sergio ‘Checo’ Perez: The Mexican Wunderkind joined Red Bull in 2021 and has won four Formula 1 Grand Prix: 2020 Sakhir GP, 2021 Azerbaijan GP, 2022 Monaco GP and 2022 Singapore GP. He previously raced with Sauber, McLaren and Force India (later Racing Point and now Aston Martin). In 2022, Perez finished third place behind Charles Leclerc.

Red Bull driver-line up (Checo, left, Verstappen and Ricciardo, right)Red Bull driver-line up (Checo, left, Verstappen and Ricciardo, right)
Red Bull driver-line up (Checo, left, Verstappen and Ricciardo, right) | AFP via Getty Images

Ferrari

Ferrari will have a new Team Principal this year in Frederic Vasseur. They have a record total of 16 Constructors’ Championships (the last of which was won in 2008) and a record of 15 Drivers’ Championships. Kimi Raikkonen won their last championship in 2007. Michael Schumacher is the team’s most successful driver: he won five consecutive Drivers’ titles and 72 GPs for his team.

Charles Leclerc: Leclerc finished second in the 2022 Formula 1 championship and won three races in the year. He was Verstappen’s main rival throughout but several strategic and driver errors cost him a real shot at the title. In 2019, he won the Pole Trophy becoming the youngest driver ever and first non-Mercedes driver to win the award.

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Carlos Sainz: Carlos Sainz finally won his first ever Grand Prix race at this year’s British Grand Prix. He will be heading into his third season with the Italian Horses. Sainz started in F1 with Toro Rosso before moving to McLaren. He earned his maiden F1 podium at the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix when he came in third.

Mercedes

Mercedes won every Constructors’ Championship from 2014-2021. They are the most successful team in Formula 1 today and have also won the Drivers’ Championship a total of nine times since 1954. The team led by Toto Wolff is ranked second in Formula One history.

Lewis Hamilton: 2022 was the first time since 2013 that Lewis Hamilton has not won a single race in a season. He is a seven-time world champion and will continue his bid to become the most successful Formula 1 driver ever as he hopes for an improved car in 2023.

George Russell: This will be the Briton’s second season with Mercedes and the former Williams driver enjoyed his (and Mercedes of 2022) first race win at the Brazil Grand Prix. The 25-year-old finished outside the top five of all reasons on only three occasions.

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Alpine

Alpine was formerly Renault Racing and made its debut at the start of the 2021 season. Otmar Szafnauer will lead the team once again, having led them to fourth place finish in 2022.

Esteban Ocon

The French driver made his F1 debut with Manor Racing in 2016 before moving to Force India in 2017. He was then replaced by Lance Stroll in 2019, the year he became Mercedes reserve driver before joining Renault in 2020. He won his first and only F1 race at the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix.

Pierre Gasly: Pierre Gasly is a Grand Prix winner. The Frenchman won the 2022 Italian Grand Prix with AlphaTauri (Toro Rosso) and he has three podiums to his name. Gasly had been with Toro Rosso since 2014 and this will be his first season with the French-based franchise, formerly known as Renault.

McLaren Racing

McLaren, led by Zak Brown, is the sport’s second oldest active team and the second most successful team after Ferrari. They have won eight Constructors’ Championships (the last coming in 1998) and 12 Drivers’ Championship, the last being Lewis Hamilton in 2008.

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Lando Norris: The British 23-year-old first joined McLaren in 2019 and has secured six podiums with the team. He has long been a member of the McLaren Young Driver Programme and won the FIA F3 Championship in 2017 before moving up to F1.

His highest finishing position came in the 2021 Italian Grand Prix when he finished second, behind teammate Daniel Ricciardo. In 2022, he finished seventh.

Oscar Piastri: The Australian 21-year-old is a F2 and F3 champion and had been part of the Alpine driver academy until the dramatic fallout in the summer break. In 2022, Piastri was the French franchise’s reserve driver with all parties expecting the Australian to transition up this season. However, he instead decided to switch allegiances and will now enjoy his first season with the Papaya team.

Alfa Romeo

This will be the last year the team operates with Alfa Romeo as Sauber will team up with Audi for 2024. Alfa Romeo won the first two Drivers’ Championships in 1950 and 1951 but withdrew from the sport just after. It was not until 2018 that it officially returned as title sponsors for Sauber.

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Valtteri Bottas: Bottas first joined F1 when he raced for Williams in 2013. He later joined Mercedes as Hamilton’s teammate in 2017 after Nico Rosberg announced his surprise retirement and won 10 races with the side. His last race win came at the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix

Zhou Guanyu: Formula 1’s first Chinese driver, Zhou Guanyu, finished 18th in the Drivers’ Championship having collected six points. Unfortunately, his most famous race will be the British Grand Prix where he suffered a horrendous crash in the first corner. He was unharmed in the incident and his best race finish was at the 2022 Canadian Grand Prix where he finished in eighth.

Zhou Guanyu at the British Grand Prix Zhou Guanyu at the British Grand Prix
Zhou Guanyu at the British Grand Prix | Getty Images

Aston Martin

Formerly Racing Point, Aston Martin returned to the F1 track in 2021 using Mercedes power units. Lawrence Stroll is the team’s chairman while Mike Krack has come in as the new Team Principal for 2022.

The team first joined F1 in 1959 for one season and returned in 2021.

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Lance Stroll: Stroll previously raced for Williams in 2017 but moved to Racing Point in 2019 after his father, along with a consortium of investors, bought the team. Stroll has scored three podiums in his career, with the latest coming in 2020 at the Sakhir Grand Prix.

Fernando Alonso: Alonso is a two-time World Champion, winning the title in 2005 and 2006. He last won a race at the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix and briefly retired from the sport in 2019, coming back only two years later. He has previously raced with Renault, McLaren, Ferrari and most latterly with Alpine before announcing the move during the summer break.

At the 2021 Qatar Grand Prix, Alonso scored his first podium in seven years.

Haas

Haas was formed in 2016 and is the first American constructor to compete since the unrelated Haas Lola outfit in 1986. In 2021, they finished with 0 points and 10th in Constructors’ Championship but last year, they finished eighth with 37 points.

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Kevin Magnussen: Kevin Magnussen gave Haas their first points since 2021 when he finished fifth in the first race of the year. He ended 13th in the Drivers’ Championship

Magnussen has previously raced with McLaren and Renault before he joined Haas in 2017. His one and only podium in F1 came in 2014 with McLaren at the 2014 Australian Grand Prix.

Nico Hulkenberg: Hulkenberg returns to the paddock having spent 2022 as the reserve driver for Aston Martin. The 35-year-old has previously raced for Williams, Force India, Renault and Racing Point. He holds the record for acquiring the most career points without winning a single race.

Hulkenberg’s best result came at the 2016 Belgian Grand Prix where he finished fourth.

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AlphaTauri

Previously Toro Rosso, AlphaTauri was formed in 2020 although their franchise has been in the sport since 1985.

Yuki Tsunoda: Tsunoda joined AlphaTauri in 2021 after coming third in the 2020 Formula 2 Championship. His best finish in F1 came at the 2021 Hungarian GP when he went from starting 16th to finishing sixth, after Sebastian Vettel’s disqualification.

Nyck de Vries: 28-year-old Nyck de Vries will begin his first official season with Formula 1 after spending last year as Mercedes’ reserve driver. He substituted for Williams at the 2022 Italian Grand Prix with Alex Albon out due to illness and he finished ninth. He is an F2 and FE champion and was part of the McLaren young driver programme from 2010 to 2019.

Williams

Williams was first founded by former team owner Frank Williams and has secured nine Constructors’ Championships and seven Drivers’ Championships in its history.

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The team’s most successful period came in the 80s and 90s but has since seen its success decline. Jost Capito took over as Team Principal in 2020 from Clare Williams (Frank’s daughter).

Alex Albon: Thai driver Alex Albon first joined F1 in 2019 when he signed with Toro Rosso. After securing great success, he was then promoted to Red Bull later that season but could not maintain the success. He was demoted to reserve driver in 2021 and still has a link with Red Bull while he remains at Williams.

Logan Sargeant: Sargeant will be the first American on the grid since Alexander Rossi in 2015. The American 22-year-old won the 2021-22 F2 Championship and 2019-21 F3 Championship and has replaced Canada’s Nicholas Latifi on the grid.

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