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Formula One: Five things to look for in 2023

The 2022 Formula One season may just have ended but already the excitement is building for what could come next year as Max Verstappen aims to make it a hat-trick of titles.

The Dutchman ended up winning the 2022 title easily and in record-breaking fashion as he won 15 of the 22 races to finish on 454 points, a massive 146 ahead of nearest rival Charles Leclerc of Ferrari.

Red Bull were in a league of their own in the second half of the season after initially being put under pressure by Ferrari at the beginning of the year.

Meanwhile, Mercedes were nowhere to be seen at the start of the season and Lewis Hamilton will want to respond to a poor campaign by gunning for his eighth title. Here are five potential things to look out for going into the 2023 campaign.

What: Formula One 2023 season

When: Sunday 5th March 2023 - Sunday 26th November 2023

Where: 23 circuits around the world

How to watch: Sky Sports F1

Odds: Max Verstappen 8/11, Lewis Hamilton 7/2, Charles Leclerc 9/2, George Russell 9/1, Carlos Sainz 20/1

Can Verstappen make it back-to-back-to-back?

Despite early wobbles with reliability, there was little chance of anyone competing with Red Bull and Verstappen in 2023.

The car was set up beautifully for race days and, even though Ferrari generally had the measure of Red Bull in qualifying, the Austrian team always seemed to be one up in terms of strategy.

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Verstappen as well has gone up levels as a driver with the 25-year-old's performance in 2022 much more mature than in previous years. He does still retain that flamboyance and aggression when required.

Whether or not they can sustain that pace remains to be seen. The salary cap breach in 2021 was one black cloud and that may have an effect on them next season as they will need to keep to their budget constraints to avoid further punishment.

However, the team look to be in top shape for another charge at the title in 2023.

Ferrari desperate to improve race day fortunes

At the beginning of the season, it appeared as though another stellar battle was on the cards between Verstappen and Leclerc following two wins and a second place finish in the first three races for the Monegasque driver.

Ferrari showed great potential in pre-season testing and took full advantage of Red Bull's reliability concerns in the first few races to establish an early lead.

Both Leclerc and Carlos Sainz proved to be rapid in qualifying with the pair sharing 12 pole positions in 2022.

However, their race day calls proved to be farcical at times and they drew heavy criticism for making the wrong decisions at the wrong times during races.

There was the British Grand Prix when the team failed to react to a late safety car to get Leclerc into the pits in order for him to get onto fresher rubber while in the lead. Then, in Hungary, the team bafflingly changed him onto hard compound tyres towards the end of the race and he lost ground on his rivals.

A smattering of other errors means team boss Mattia Binoto is expected to leave the Scuderia as a result.

Tidying up those strategic errors will surely lead to a closer season next year.

Mercedes hope to bounce back after quiet year

For around 10 years, Mercedes have headed the pack in F1 so for them to win only one race in the entirety of 2022 will have come as something of a culture shock.

Toto Wolff's team did not adjust to the new regulations anywhere near as quickly as Red Bull or Ferrari, and they were well off the pace at the beginning of the season.

The Silver Arrows car was affected by "porpoising" meaning it would bounce up and down at high speeds and lose pace. Both Hamilton and George Russell felt the effects, saying it was exhausting to drive.

There were marked improvements towards the end of the season though, and that culminated in Russell winning his first-ever race at the Brazilian Grand Prix after holding off his team-mate in a memorable race for the Brits.

Over the winter, there will be extensive testing and analysis to try and make sure the problems are rectified, and if they can get that fixed then next year could witness a three-team classic fight.

Bet on the F1 Constructors Championship 2023

Rookies hope to make an impression

Next season, there will be three drivers making their first steps into Formula One as Dutchman Nyck de Vires joins Alpha Tauri, Australian Oscar Piastri enters at McLaren and American Logan Sargeant arrives at Williams.

De Vries made his debut in 2022, stepping in for Alex Albon at the Italian Grand Prix and he made a huge impression, finishing in ninth place and earning two championship points in his first start.

That alerted other teams to his talent, and with Pierre Gasly leaving for Alpine to form an all-French partnership with Esteban Ocon, the door was ajar for De Vries to get in and earn a drive.

He will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of Verstappen by becoming a successful driver from the Netherlands and will challenge Japanese racer Yuki Tsunoda who only managed to get one point in his last 17 races.

Piastri has long been touted as a future F1 driver and his arrival at McLaren was shrouded in controversy after Alpine announced he would be driving for them in 2023 - swiftly rebutted by the young Aussie.

He comes into the championship as an F2 champion and will look to challenge Lando Norris.

Meanwhile, Sargeant is the first American to drive in the series since Alexander Rossi in 2015.

Bet on the F1 Drivers Championship 2023

Vegas to make F1 bow

2023 will see the first-ever running of the Las Vegas Grand Prix with the Liberty Media owners wanting to further boost the profile of the sport in the States.

It is a street circuit around the Vegas Strip and the first time the sport has been there since the 1982 Caesars Palace Grand Prix which was won by Alain Prost in the Renault.

For just the second time it means there will be three races in the USA in the 2023 season, with even more glitz and glamour added to the calendar.

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