Lewis Hamilton is calling for a 5 way team battle at the front of Formula One in 2023. Following the biggest regulation change in a generation last year the F1 pecking order was shake up as the all dominant Mercedes slipped away winning just one race with Ferrari and Red Bull Racing fighting it out for race wins early season.
Ferrari reliability forced them to run their power units from Barcelona at reduced power and this saw them slip away as challengers and Red Bull take both championships at a canter.
Mercedes back in title chase
Mercedes appeared to make good progress in the closing rounds claiming a maiden F1 race win in Interlagos for George Russell.
Clearly the 7 times world champion is hoping his team will close up the competition this year.
“I’d like to think that we [Mercedes] are going to be the ones that are competing with them and being able to beat them again, I do believe that for sure,” Hamilton told Formula1.com.
In what may be seen as a final pitch for a Ferrari drive before his career is over, Hamilton bigs up the Italian squad hoping they’ll be back to winning ways.
Hamilton calls for a Ferrari recovery
“But I really hope Ferrari is strong, they’ve definitely had a difficult period but there have been some strong signs, obviously, that you’ve seen last year, which has been nice to see. And it’s been nice to see Ferrari doing well again,” adds Hamilton.
Lewis appears to believe Formula One is on route to a time when several teams can challenge for race wins each season and suggests it could be even more than a three way fight this year.
“So, I hope that it’s more than a two-way battle this year. I hope there’s at least three of us. If not, surprisingly, maybe more. Like, why can’t McLaren be there, even Alpine has been doing amazing. So, we’ll see.”
Brown rules McLaren out of Championship
Zak Brown has already ruled out McLaren from any kind of title challenge for the foreseeable future. Whilst realistic, is this the kind of pre-season pep talk superstar Lando Norris really needs?
Brown says it could be “another two years” before the front of the grid closes up to include the likes of McLaren, Aston Martin and Alpine.
His reasoning is team’s like McLaren and Aston Martin have infrastructure projects on the go both with new wind tunnels and simulators in the pipeline. So despite the budget cap levelling the playing field regarding annual spend on F1 cars, some teams are less efficient due to their older facilities.
Aston and McLaren playing infrastructure catchup
“Even though we’re all kind of on the same money spend now, some teams have bigger infrastructures.
“We’re still waiting for our wind tunnel which is down the road to be done, which will be done here shortly, and a new simulator.”
That said, following a huge change in the regulations last year, the relative stability of design rules for 2023 should see the grid begin to close up.
“Any time you have new regulations, someone gets it right, and someone gets it wrong,” observes Brown.
“Then what ends up happening is everyone sees who got it right and they gravitate towards what they’ve seen, you know, kind of what works from an aerodynamic point of view.
Last F1 season 7 different drivers won a race
Brown cites 2012 as the last year where 7 different drivers won F1 races because the regulations had been stable for a number of years. The following season in came the V6 hybrid turbo’s where Mercedes conquered all before them.
The McLaren boss concludes, “So I think as these regulations stabilise, people will catch up. I think in a couple of years’ time, it’s going to be an awesome, awesome competition.”
— Formula 1 (@F1) February 9, 2023