The second round of the 2023 Formula 1 World Championship saw reigning champion Max Verstappen starting from 15th after driveshaft failure forced him out of qualifying, and Charles Leclerc in 12th after taking a 10-place grid drop for using more than his 2 allotted ECUs for the season,

Verstappen’s team mate in Red Bull Racing, Sergio Perez, had a poor start from pole position and was passed by a forceful Fernando Alonso in the Aston Martin. However, the Stewards would give Alonso a 5-second penalty for incorrect starting location.


The 2023 Formula 1 World Championship continues in the Middle East after the opening round in Bahrain with Round 2 at the seaside resort and port city on the Red Sea where the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix is being held this weekend. Situated 30 kms from Jeddah, the is the third time that the  city is hosting a round on its Corniche street circuit.

Like the Bahrain GP, the Saudi Arabian GP will also be run at night on the 6.174-km circuit, the second longest in the 2023 calendar (after Spa-Francorchamps). Designed by Carsten Tilke, the son of the famous F1 circuit designer, Hermann Tilke, this is the fastest street circuit in the F1 calendar at the moment. Speeds on simulators have averaged over 250 km/h around the track which has 27 turns, the most of any circuit this year.


As the lights went out to signal the start of the first round of the 2023 Formula 1 World Championship, Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen pulled away from the field cleanly. Ferrari’s  Charles Leclerc sneaked by Verstappen’s team mate Sergio Perez in pursuit of the world champion. .

Red Bull would be aiming to win at Bahrain for the first time since 2013 while Lewis Hamilton would hope that he could add one more win to the five previous ones that have made him the most successful driver at this circuit.

Although Fernando Alonso started from P5 and his team mate in the Aston Martin team was in P8, they somehow came in contact as the pack went through Turn 4. It appeared that Stroll was eager to get past Mercedes-AMG’s George Russell who had started from P6 but instead caused Alonso to drop to 7th. The Stewards considered the Aston Martin incident and decided that no action was necessary.


After much anticipation over the past few months, a new Formula 1 season has started. Bahrain again has the honour of being season-opener where it used to be towards the end of the season and it was Australia that started the season.

Apart from the new cars, there are also three new faces – Oscar Piastri with the McLaren F1 Team, Logan Sargeant with Williams Racing, and Nyck de Vries with Scuderia AlphaTauri. While the first two drivers are making their debut in F1, de Vries (who also raced in Formula E) actually made his unplanned debut last year at the Italian GP. He took over Alexander Albon’s place in the Williams team when the Thai driver had appendicitis and could not race. 27 years old then, the Dutch driver did well to ninth position, scoring points on his first F1 outing.


Since the 2021 Formula 1 season, the Official FIA Safety Car and Medical Car have been from two different companies, instead of just Mercedes-AMG as in earlier years. The other company has been Aston Martin which, like Mercedes-AMG, also has a team taking part in the F1 World Championship.

Aston Martin will again provide the Official FIA Safety Car and Official FIA Medical Car for the 2023 season. The Vantage will again be used for Official FIA Safety Car functions but for the Official Medical Car, Aston Martin is providing a new and very powerful SUV, the DBX707. It replaces the DBX used previously to transport medical personnel quickly to the site of an incident during the race.


Brembo will again be the supplier of brake systems for the Formula 1 World Championship which will have its first round this weekend in Bahrain. Over 48 seasons, F1 racing cars using Brembo brakes have won 27 Drivers’ World Championships, 32 Constructors’ World Championships and 485 GP races.

Over the past 20 years, Brembo has revolutionized the concept of discs used in F1 cars. In the early 2000s, Brembo carbon discs had a thickness of 28 mm with a maximum of 72 holes in a single row and a diameter that exceeded of 10 mm.

Today, the diameter has increased from 278 mm to 328 mm for the front axle carbon disc and from 266 mm to 280 mm for the rear one, with a thickness of 32 mm and a number of holes between 1,000 and 1,100 at the front, while 900 holes at the rear in the most extreme setup in terms of cooling. This year, the FIA has banned drilled pads.


The unveiling of the 2023 F1 machines continues with the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team presenting its W14 E PERFORMANCE racing car today. Silver and black being the colours of the team, the decision was made to go with black this year ‘in the name of performance’. While taking inspiration from the legendary creation of the original Silver Arrows, instead of stripping back paint to shiny aluminium beneath, it will be sleek black carbonfibre on the W14.

“You will see that the car has some raw carbon bits, along with some that are painted matte black. Of course, when we changed the livery in 2020, the main driving factor was to support the diversity and equality causes which are always close to our heart. The colour black became part of our DNA at that point, so we are pleased to return to it,” said Toto Wolff, Team Principal & CEO of the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team.


Around lunchtime (7 pm in Malaysia) today at Ferrari’s Fiorano track in Italy, its Formula 1 team unveiled the 69th F1 racing car built by Ferrari. Being the first physical launch of a model after two years of virtual car presentations (due to the pandemic), 500 fans were invited to attend the event.

Before the launch, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz went to greet the crowd which included many members of the various Scuderia Ferrari Clubs and students from Muner, the Motorvehicle University of Emilia-Romagna, and some from the Alfredo Ferrari Higher Education Institute, along with their teachers.

The new car is designated ‘SF-23’ and this marks a return to the format of the Scuderia Ferrari initials combined with the year of competition, as has been the case for most of the hybrid era, was first seen on video.


As the teams begin their phased unveiling of the new cars for the 2023 Formula 1 World Championship, the FIA has also confirmed that 6 manufacturers have registered as Power Unit Suppliers for the 2026 – 2030 seasons of the championship.

The manufacturers that will supply the F1 power units are Alpine Racing, Audi, Ferrari, Honda Racing Corporation, Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains and Red Bull Ford. It’s interesting that Honda has signed up to be an engine manufacturer after 2025 when Red Bull Racing, which will use its engines until then, will switch to a new power unit jointly developed with Ford (and so will Scuderia AlphaTauri).


Ford has announced its return to Formula 1 after 22 years away from the sport. Despite having been absent from F1 since 2004, Ford remains the third most successful engine manufacturer in F1 history with 10 Constructors’ championships and 13 Drivers’ championships. Between 1967 and 2004, the carmaker provided engines to no less than 67 teams.

It was present in F1 up to 2004, with its last entry being with the Jaguar team (acquired from former F1 driver Jackie Stewart) as the British carmaker was then owned by Ford. The extremely high (and rising) cost of participating in F1 was given as the reason Ford withdrew and sold its team to Red Bull (the energy drinks company) for US$1 at the end of the 2004 season.

Drawing the carmaker back to the sport it dominated in the late 1960s and 1970s is the increasing interest in key markets around the world, including the USA. Furthermore, the FIA and F1 have a commitment to sustainability with increased use of electric power as well as sustainable fuels.



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