Formula 1 Is Back, But Things Could Be Different Behind the Bulls

The new F1 season kicks off in Bahrain this weekend.

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February 28, 2023 at 5:05 pm GMT

It’s finally here. The 2023 Formula 1 season starts this weekend, just a week after three days of pre-season testing concluded at the very same Bahrain International Circuit. Given the timeframe, teams have no time to find meaningful performance improvements and little time to bring upgraded parts to the venue.

Therefore, what we saw during three days of testing should be what we get during the forthcoming three practice sessions, a qualifying session, and Sunday’s race. And that means it could be an unfamiliar starting grid. But, a familiar face, Max Verstappen, is expected to be at the front of it.

According to leading pundits, on the evidence of testing, Red Bull remains the fastest car in the sport. Ferrari finished a distant second behind the energy drinks company in 2022, and the Italian team is generally considered to be second best at this point in time.

Mercedes Have Plenty to Think About

But, hereafter, things are not so clear. Despite its record, heritage, and promises, Mercedes does not look ready to regain its mantle of the team to beat or a consistent podium finisher. Instead, it is Aston Martin – ironically using Mercedes engines – which could be the team to pick up podium finishes when the Ferrari and Red Bull drivers falter.

Remarkably, Haas, a team that finished eighth in last season’s constructors battle, looks capable of giving Mercedes something to worry about - as does Alpine. In addition to Mercedes being initially disappointing, McLaren’s staff must also be having sleepless nights. Experts place Alpha Tauri above them, placing the orange (and partially black) cars eighth in the pecking order.

Get the Max from Bull Run

Bookmakers have been watching closely, and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen – winner of 15 races in 2022 – is 10/11 to kick 2023 off with another race victory. Perez was fortunate to win two races for the team last year. Resultantly, he is 9/1 to score on Sunday. But, if his car is vastly superior in this opening 2023 contest, he could repay faithful supporters that back him each way.

The more logical bet is backing the Mexican for a podium finish at Unibet sportsbook – an online bookmaker that offers 9/10 about the outcome. Allied to a fast car, the reason for our optimism is the lack of any obvious reliability issues during the team’s 413 testing laps.

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F1 Betting Tips

Bahrain Grand Prix - Podium Finish

Sergio Perez to get on the podium looks a solid bet for Bahrain


At 9/10 a £10 bet would return £19

2023 Bahrain Grand Prix

March 05, 2023

3:00 pm GMT

Three Rookies and One Problem

But 10/11 and/or the each-way part of a 9/1 ‘winner’ will not bulge the bank balance. The 9/4 at bet365 about less than 15.5 classified finishers could see its supporters fare better. And the reason this bet could be a better investment is …rookies!

The 2023 season has three rookies on the grid: Logan Sargeant, Oscar Piastri, and Nyck de Vries. It is possible anyone of these could be overzealous on their debut as a first-time and full-time Formula 1 racer and crash out. It would be a bonus if they were to take a rival with them!

But it is a lack of reliability across all teams that may see 15 or fewer drivers complete the 90% of race distance needed to be classified as a ‘race finisher’. And, remarkably, it is the Mercedes team that suffered the most reliability issues during pre-season testing.

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F1 Betting Tips

2023 Bahrain Grand Prix - Number Of Classified Finishers

Reliability issues and rookie drivers could lead to low finishers


At 9/4 a £10 bet would return £32.50

2023 Bahrain Grand Prix

March 05, 2023

3:00 pm GMT

How To Watch the Action Live

Sky Sports F1 will broadcast all the action live. Track sessions begin with practice at 11.30 am on Friday. Qualifying and the race both start at 3pm on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

* F1 betting odds correct at the time of writing. Subject to changes.

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