Formula 1 2023 – Dutch GP
After a month-long break Formula 1 returns to action with the Dutch GP at Zandvoort. It’s the home race of Red Bull driver Max Verstappen who will be cheered on by his massive Orange Army.
The season will feature 23 races from March to November, with the new Las Vegas Grand Prix making its debut a week before the season finale.
Max Verstappen has redefined the limits of F1 this season and is obscenely good. His performance over the first 12 races is the stuff of legends and he shows no signs of slowing down. As the championship heads into its usual summer break, there are several records within his grasp and he could be one win away from breaking them all.
With eight wins this year, the Dutchman has already surpassed Ayrton Senna’s consecutive wins record, and he looks to have a very good chance of reaching Alain Prost’s all-time record. The two-time world champion will be hoping to add to his tally at the Zandvoort race which will be the first after the summer break and is the home Grand Prix of Red Bull team-mate Nyck de Vries.
Verstappen will be looking to increase his points lead over teammate Sergio Perez, who is only five points behind. He also has more than double the points of Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and George Russell. It would be a massive surprise if Verstappen doesn’t end the season as champion and it is very likely he will win the constructors’ title as well.
The last time a driver won both titles in a single season was when Schumacher did it in 2004. Verstappen is on course to do the same in 2023 and could be in for a spectacular third straight championship.
He has a strong lead in the drivers’ standings over Hamilton, and it is likely he will surpass his career best of 91 wins if he continues to perform at this level. Red Bull’s dominance in the championship is such that it is a foregone conclusion that they will win both the drivers and constructors titles this year.
The Red Bull RB19 has been the car of the season so far in 2023, with Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez racking up a clean sweep of wins through the first two races. The Milton Keynes outfit have the best chance any team has had of claiming the title, which would be the most dominant clean sweep since McLaren did it back in 1988.
But will they do it? There is a strong argument that it will come down to luck, rather than car or driver performance. F1 cars are notoriously unpredictable, especially when they are on pole and cruising up front. It is not unheard of for a Mercedes or Ferrari to get into trouble at the start of the race, and that can wipe out the entire order.
That said, the Red Bull team are the best engineering outfit in F1. Their head of aerodynamics, Enrico Bablo, was with them from the start of the team and is one of the greatest engineers in motorsport. Their technical director, Ben Waterhouse, has also been with the team since its inception and is arguably the most important figure behind their success.
They have also made clever use of the rules changes brought in this year. For example, they have found a way to reduce the infamous ‘porpoising’ problem experienced by rival teams – notably Mercedes last year – by raising their floor.
As a result, their car is more stable and quicker in high-speed corners. This is a big advantage when it comes to Formula 1 racing, and is the reason why they have such a huge lead over their closest challengers. Whether they can keep it up remains to be seen, but it certainly looks like the kind of thing that the great teams do – as they did in the days when the Miami Dolphins won every game.
Despite some rough patches, Mercedes have been the dominant team at the start of the turbo-hybrid era. They won both drivers’ and constructors’ titles last year with Lewis Hamilton winning 11 races to secure a Schumacher-equaling seventh drivers’ crown, while teammate Valtteri Bottas took a further two wins.
But this season has been marked by more ups and downs, with the Silver Arrows falling behind Red Bull in a procession that looks set to continue until at least the halfway stage of the season. Nevertheless, Mercedes are still ahead of Ferrari in the overall standings – but can they turn things around in time for the Dutch GP?
The 2023 Dutch GP takes place on Sunday 27 August at the Circuit Zandvoort in Zandvoort, the Netherlands. The race will be held over 72 laps of the circuit, which is 4.259 km long. It will be the first Formula 1 race in the Netherlands since last month’s British GP at Brands Hatch.
In the build up to this weekend’s race, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has been unstoppable, leading every practice session so far and scoring three consecutive pole positions. The home favourite will be under pressure from the chasing pack, including Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, who were strong before the summer break, as well as McLaren’s Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri, who both showed encouraging signs of progress prior to the break.
Also in contention will be Alpine’s Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly. The French pair have a fierce rivalry that they’re hoping to use to propel their team forward, having both risen through the ranks together from karting to Formula 1, with Ocon joining from Force India in 2020 and Gasly arriving at the team at the beginning of this season.
After a month-long break, Formula 1 returns this weekend with the Dutch Grand Prix at Circuit Zandvoort in the Netherlands. The race will be Max Verstappen’s home race, and he enters it with a seven-point lead over Sebastian Vettel.
The Woking team has struggled in 2023, but it hopes to make progress in the final three races of the season. It has deployed a raft of upgrades over the Austrian, British and Hungarian rounds, and it has fast-tracked one for this weekend. The hope is that these will boost McLaren’s overall pace.
McLaren’s latest update is likely to be significant, but it might not push the team up the grid. The team has been fighting porpoising issues this year, which has diverted resources from developing the car. This refocusing should allow the team to make faster progress, but it may take some time.
In addition to the new spec, McLaren is also testing an upgraded version of its exhaust system. This should offer more power and more flexibility, but it is unlikely to improve the car’s reliability, which has been a major issue this season.
Lando Norris will be hoping for more points as he attempts to get the most out of his McLaren. He has a strong record at Spa-Francorchamps and could score another top-five finish. But he remains without a win, and he has admitted that he has considered forcing a move away from the McLaren team.
The Italian team will be hoping to end a long wait for championship success after an off-season of upheaval that included the removal of team principal Mattia Binotto and the hiring of Fred Vasseur from Alfa Romeo. But the early signs have been unimpressive, with Vasseur admitting that his new car is not as competitive as they would have liked and teammate Charles Leclerc complaining of being beaten by Red Bull.
The SF-23 looks similar to last year’s model but is claimed to have an engine that is over 30 bhp more powerful than the previous car. However, that may not be enough to overcome the car’s inability to manage tyre degradation efficiently and its lack of straight-line speed. The car also has the disadvantage of being dependent on the floor, which creates the vortexes that provide downforce – something that was highlighted by Carlos Sainz in Jeddah when he stated that his rival is “superior everywhere; they’re better in qualy and races, they’re superior in medium and low-speed corners, they’re superior with tyre management, they’re faster over the kerbs”.
The Dutch Grand Prix is a crucial race for Ferrari as they look to bridge the gap to Red Bull. The circuit is home to Max Verstappen’s fanatical supporters who will be looking to cheer the Dutchman into a sixth victory of the season. The event is the fourth of 23 and is scheduled to take place at the historic Zandvoort circuit, surrounded by sand dunes and only a short distance from Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport. Experience the best of Formula 1 at the Heineken Dutch Grand Prix with Official Ticket Packages that include premium Champions Club or Formula 1 Paddock Club(tm) hospitality.