Is it too soon to look at Formula 1s opening race of the season? Hell no, it is only three weeks away! And pre-season testing? That’s less than two weeks away. Furthermore, in the past few days, drivers have donned their gloves and helmets and taken some track time.
McLaren’s Lando Norris headed to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya last week. Rules state 2023s cars cannot be tested on the track, so the British driver was at the wheel of the team’s 2021 car.
Meanwhile, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and George Russell were recently sent to France’s Paul Ricard Circuit – a track that is not on the 2023 F1 calendar – to test Pirelli’s tyre compounds for the new season.
The pair had a day each at the wheel of the team’s 2022 car – on Wednesday and Thursday – underlining how seriously teams are taking the forthcoming 23-race season.
Red Bull to Partner with Ford
There has been no news or rumour of Red Bull having an away day at the racetrack with an old spec car. But the Milton Keynes team has been in the headlines as it has been leaked to the press that the reigning world champions have inked a deal to use Ford engines from 2026 onwards.
Ford will partner with Red Bull on the year that new regulations are introduced. They will demand the use of 100% sustainable fuels and, according to the sport’s ringmasters, an increase in the electrical component/output of the engine to almost 50%.
The American motor giant has not featured on the Formula 1 grid since 2004. The following year it sold its works team, Jaguar, to Red Bull. Of course, Red Bull has prospered since giving Sebastian Vettel four world titles and more recently Max Verstappen two.
However, it was a Renault and then a Honda engine that propelled their cars. 2022 was a crackerjack of a season for Red Bull. The Austrian racing team secured the title in both drivers’ and constructors’ categories for the first time since 2013. The team won 17 races during the year, Max Verstappen was responsible for 15 of them.
Follow the Formbook? You Will Not Back the Bulls in Bahrain
Does this make the Dutch driver a 5/4 shot to kick off 2023 with a race win? The bookmakers believe so, as this is the price Unibet and William Hill are currently offering.
Forgetting rumours of a vastly improved Ferrari and Mercedes pledge that its 2023 car will be superior to its 2022 counterpart, the history books suggest they are a team to take on in Bahrain on March 5th.
Past Bahrain GP winners
- 2022 - Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
- 2021 - Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
- 2020 - Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
- 2019 - Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
- 2018 - Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
- 2017 - Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
- 2016 - Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
- 2015 - Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
- 2014 - Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
The records show that not only have Red Bull failed to win the Bahrain Grand Prix, but only twice in that period – 2020 and 2021 – did the team claim a podium position. Who’s your money on in Bahrain? Sir Lewis Hamilton is best priced 10/3 with William Hill to get off to a flying start.
* F1 betting odds correct at the time of writing. Subject to changes.