In a staggering and surprising turn of events, the 2023 Formula 1 season witnessed Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz conquer victory in the Singapore Grand Prix, ending Red Bull‘s prolonged dominance. Sainz’s meticulous strategy not only saw him claim first place, but also elevated McLaren’s Lando Norris and hindered Mercedes‘ hopes of victory.
In the convoluted landscape of the competition, the FIA’s clampdown on flexi-wings became a major discussion point for Red Bull and other teams. On another note, Charles Leclerc confessed his struggles in matching Sainz’s recent performance for Ferrari, while the Aston Martin team and George Russell grappled with disappointments.
Christian Horner, Red Bull‘s chief, admitted to the shock after the team’s downfall in Singapore. Horner conceded, “You guys have been asking me [about winning every race] since pretty much Jeddah.” Indeed, fans might reconsider looking into the strategic aspect of George Russell‘s early words hinting towards Red Bull‘s possible season clean sweep.
Despite the surprising turn of events, Sainz’s explosive performance during the Singapore Grand Prix was expected. He maintained a dominant pace throughout the rounds and skillfully secured victory, representing a monumental moment for the Spanish racer.
However, worries emerge over Red Bull‘s struggle to maintain its 2023 streak as stiffening rules against flexi-bodywork becomes the new norm. Despite this, the team remains confident that the updated regulations had little influence on their performance in Singapore.
Leclerc’s performance in the face of recent Ferrari adjustments drew attention, with some comparing it to Verstappen’s struggle in 2022. Leclerc even admitted to being uncomfortable with the car, explaining, “A bit too much understeer for my liking and I struggle to drive around it”
The focus also shifted to Russell after his late crash in Singapore. He acknowledged, “I truly believe that I’m driving better than I have ever driven.” The incident, according to Russell, was due to a momentary lapse of concentration, hinting at bigger challenges he must surmount to unlock his full potential.
Fernando Alonso brought up the topic of Formula 1‘s qualifying format being outdated. Alonso suggested considering a “single-lap qualifying” rather than the current system. The Spaniard opined, “I think this qualifying format is obsolete. It has been the same for 20-25 years [sic], but the cars are not the same. We have hybrid engines, we have to charge [the battery], we have to cool the tyres, so the only way to go forward is one lap.”
Aston Martin faced challenges with Lance Stroll‘s error causing significant setbacks, affecting their overall performance. This incident highlights a rising sentiment that Lawrence Stroll‘s decision to retain his son in Aston’s F1 seats could be impeding the team’s progress.
Significant changes to the Singapore Grand Prix circuit were applauded by drivers, setting a positive precedent for future races. However, the plans for these modifications are reported to be temporary.
Finally, Alfa Romeo’s decision to extend their deal with Zhou Guanyu for 2024 has intensified the competition for seats at Williams and AlphaTauri. Another notable development is Andretti’s progress towards securing an F1 berth, with reports suggesting that their entry approval from FIA could be imminent.