Verstappen is aiming for a third world championship

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Verstappen is aiming for a third world championship


The 2023 Formula One starts in Bahrain next Sunday, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen about the third world championship.

AFP Sport offers insight into five points before the lights go out on the 23-race championship, the longest in the 73-year series:

— It is not their worst dream that Max Verstappen and Red Bull leader can Christian Horner just imagine their unrelenting push and glory at the world championships last year.

In 2022, Verstappen won 15 of 22 races, including nine of the last 11 as he swept the world championships. His final points total of 454 was a good 146 ahead of second place Charles Leclerc of Ferrari.

Verstappen is a disaster with the bookies for a three-peat, with Red Bull in a whitewash to reclaim the constructors’ title.

Talk of the ‘Verstappen era’ emerged after the 25-year-old Dutchman claimed his second championship in four races at Suzuka. “I hope not” said Leclerc while Lewis Hamilton said “it’s too early”, pointing to the speed of Ferrari’s ability but noting that his Mercedes team is “better big step and a high mountain to climb, but hopefully it won’t be possible.”.

— Their silver arrows fell, eight-time constructors’ champion Mercedes, seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, and George Russell returned to the color black means business. Team principal Toto Wolff described the past as “building character”, as his team struggled more than ever to meet the rules. new global. The W13 car has been given pride of place in their British home “it reminds us every day how hard it is” said Wolff.

Hamilton, 38, is approaching his 17th year in the fast lane, is as hungry as ever, and is in the process of negotiating a new contract with the team he supports to give him an eighth crown of the driving world.

As for Ferrari, they had a car to match Red Bull but were always let down by reliability and questionable race day planning, and team principal Mattia Binotto pay the price.

Under his replacement Fred Vasseur, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz will try to use their car’s obvious speed to knock Verstappen out of his position. Between them they have installed 12 pole positions to Red Bull’s eight in 2022, but only four wins to Verstappen and Sergio Perez who have 17 in total.

— The Chinese Grand Prix may be missing for a fourth season, and there is no replacement, but F1 will still run a record 23-race season as it recovers its popularity in the world since from the owner of Liberty Media. Back on the list after two bad visits to “a parking lot” behind Caesars Palace in the 1980s of Las Vegas, it was scheduled for the last leg in mid-November.

“This race will definitely be the best race of all time” said Lewis Hamilton after burning down ‘The Strip’. Las Vegas joins Austin and Miami to give the United States three races. Qatar is back but it has been returned to the French Grand Prix, first held in 1906 and the oldest in F1 history. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine kept Sochi off the list.

The number of races, first launched in 2021, has doubled to six.

— F1 introduced price caps for the first time in 2021, setting a $145 million limit on the amount teams spent on their cars (other than engines) throughout the season. Red Bull was hit with a $7 million fine after overcharging by $1.86 million. Some of the competitors say this is very satisfactory, the leader of Red Bull Christian Horner suggested that the reduction of 10 percent of research four a-aerodynamic allows up to half a second per leg.

The price limit introduced by the FIA ​​evens the gap between the grid’s big spenders and those with less cash to throw at them like Haas. It should help the teams survive, and be a step towards F1’s effort to show its role in this era of sustainability.

The limit for this season is $135 million, and the FIA’s audit office is ready to split the information and issue penalties, including points, for more serious violations. to 5%.

One of the areas that is not included is the driver’s salary, as well as the 20 men on the line estimated to take home more than $200 million between them.

— F1 pre-test times are very difficult to read, given the different team formations and strategies and tactics. But the evidence after three days of testing their 2023 cars at Sakhir ended on Saturday is that Red Bull is once again a team that seems hard to avoid, with Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez to finish on time, and the Chinese Zhou Guanyu. take center stage honors for Alfa Romeo.


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