Max Verstappen’s second F1 World Championship title is now in the history books, and attention turns to the 2023 season. Verstappen is favored to make it a three-peat with the best Vegas sportsbooks. Here we look ahead to his chances and reveal if we think he can do it with our Formula 1 future picks.
It’s fair to say that 2022 wasn’t the most exciting year in Formula 1. Max Verstappen won the Drivers Championship at a canter, and it was the exact opposite of the spectacular battle we witnessed in 2021, where Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton went toe to toe all season in what was an enthralling fight that went all the way to the wire in the final race of the season at Abu Dhabi.
2022 Ended in a damp squib
2022 was supposed to be a shootout between Red Bull and Ferrari. Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes team was out of the picture, struggling to get to grips with new rule changes. Ferrari was the team expected to step up to the plate and challenge Red Bull. But that never happened.
Ferrari turned out to be more of a damp squib than a prancing horse. In the end, it turned into a one-horse race, with Red Bull dominating almost race four (the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, from Italy).
After Italy, it was simply the Red Bull show. Except for back-to-back wins for Ferrari in Britain and Austria and a sole Mercedes win in Brazil, Red Bull won every other race. In total, Red Bull won 17 of the 22 races. And Max Verstappen won 15 of those 17.
In the odds of winning the Drivers World Championship, Max Verstappen (-140) is again the favorite with the best F1 betting sites.
Lewis Hamilton is second in the betting at +350, closely followed by Charles Leclerc of Ferrari at +400. This says that the best sportsbooks are expecting a win for Verstappen again. But they are giving Hamilton and Leclerc a fighting chance.
In the betting to win the 2023 Constructors Championship, Red Bull are the favorites. BetOnline has the 2022 champions at +100, with Mercedes at +137. Ferreri makes up the top three in the betting at +350.
Red Bull won 17 of the 22 races last season. It was surely a one-off year that won’t be repeated by anybody any time soon.
The Austrian team has been hit with a reduction on what it can spend on aerodynamic testing after its 2021 cost cap breach.
Most industry experts don’t see this punishment as likely to cause Cristian Horner and his team major problems in 2023. It may be a contributing factor to Mercedes being close in the betting. But even considering the punishment, Red Bull is still the favorites.
Can Mercedes close the gap on Red Bull in 2023?
Toto Wolff has made noises suggesting Mercedes are still way behind Red Bull in terms of speed. But either that isn’t being taken at face value, or the sportsbooks feel Mercedes will be able to catch up (pardon the pun) early in the season.
One thing that can be taken at face value from Wolff’s comments is that it will be difficult to make up half a second between Red Bull and Ferrari.
But Mercedes has won multiple world titles, and they have the talent and the resources to do it. I suspect they will have a better season, but will that be enough to prevent Max Verstappen from winning the title again?
Can Ferrari improve their overall performance?
At the start of the 2022 season, it looked like Ferrari had stolen a march on Red Bull and Mercedes. And because of this, they started the season classed as genuine title contenders.
The season started well, with Charles Leclerc winning two of the first three races.
But then things started to go wrong. Failures across the board beset the team. There was driver error, car failure, and even strategy errors midrace.
But for a mid-season mini-renaissance that saw Ferrari win in Britain and Austria, the season could have been classed as an absolute disaster.
In all honesty, it was a year of underachievement from the legendary Italian team. If Ferreri can make those mistakes right, this season is open to debate. Like the odds seem to already be suggesting, we have our reservations.
Our F1 futures picks
Usually, information about a team’s performance and potential for an upcoming season leaks out before the start of a new campaign. But this year, things have been fairly quiet to date.
The first race of the season is not until March 5th. And a lot can still change in that time.
Testing will be taking place from 23rd February to 25th February, and that should give us a stronger indication of where teams are with regard to performance. But as things stand, it’s hard to see past Max Verstappen for the Drivers Championship.
As for the Constructors Championship, if Mercedes are competitive, they will have two drivers in, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, regularly on the podium. That makes Mercedes a good value pick to win the 2023 Constructors Championship.
Dean has a strong affinity for the English Premier League and cricket, but his extensive understanding of sports allows him to discuss a wide range of athletic topics. Previously, Dean has explored the world to attend events such as the FIFA World Cup and Ashes cricket matches, but currently, he prefers to enjoy sports from the coziness of his home.