F1 2023: Who Has the Best Car?

The 2023 Formula 1 season is here, with all 20 drivers preparing to take to the track in Bahrain. Of course, we’ve only seen the new cars run for a few days, as they recently participated in pre-season testing, but how do they stack up at this early stage, and what can we expect to see from the cars in general?

If one thing becomes apparent with each 2023 new car reveal, it’s that bright colours have been abandoned in favour of unpainted carbon fibre. This is no coincidence; teams all over the grid are desperate to lose weight – even paint – to hit the minimum objective of 798 kg. Excess weight costs time on the track. With slightly heavier 2023 cars due to a new Pirelli tyre construction and reinforced roll hoops following Zhou Guanyu’s horror crash at Silverstone last year, meeting that minimum weight is even more difficult than before.

We can never resist the lure of attempting to preview Formula 1 vehicles after pre-season testing. However, any attempt must be viewed with the awareness that it is merely a snapshot and not a definitive prediction for the Bahrain Grand Prix. Instead, you’re better off checking out the F1 betting line, which should tell you everything you need. We considered raw speed, long-run pace, trackside observations, and feedback from within the teams, then read between the lines and made some informed assumptions to see which cars look the best this year.

Red Bull

Many people laughed at the concept of an energy drink brand having an F1 team in the mid-2000s, but Red Bull has become a racing juggernaut. It is still one of the trendiest outfits on the circuit, combining racing and engineering prowess with intelligent marketing. As a result, Red Bull is regaining its early-2010s dominance.

With an ambitious modification of the rocket ship that dominated the championship last year, Red Bull enters the season looking scary again. However, notwithstanding the wind-tunnel constraints imposed in the previous year, it should have an edge from the start, is already reliable, and can hope to only get faster with the support of an operationally fine-tuned staff.


Visually, there is little change between the 2022 and 2023 cars, and it’s difficult to claim that the SF23 is any worse. The bulbous side pods have been preserved, giving it a ferocious appearance in a nice way. The appearance of a patch of black on the side pods is a bit strange, though, and is a distinct retreat from the previous year.

The inclusion of “Ferrari” imprinted over the back wing, rather than merely unbranded black, is an improvement. This was last seen in yellow when the team ran a special livery at Monza last year, with other yellow elements thrown in for good measure. This year, the yellow would have worked better. Who knows, maybe they’re putting it away for later?


Mercedes will be hoping that its W14 challenger gets off to a better start after taking a new approach to the design of its 2022 car, which only began to deliver decent performance around the midway point of the season. However, at the car’s unveiling, the team downplayed its chances, generating controversy about severe problems with the W14.

The majority of the Mercedes crew remains the same, although Chief Strategist James Vowles’ departure to replace Jost Capito as team head at Williams is a loss. Lewis Hamilton is eager to return to the podium after last year’s winless season.

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Williams have finished last in four of the last five years, and they may struggle again in 2023 with drivers Alex Albon and rookie Logan Sargeant. While the Oxford-based team now has former Mercedes head James Vowles as their new team principal, succeeding Jost Capito, Williams will be without a technical director this season after FX Demaison left in the off-season. Last year, Williams scored only eight points and finished eighth, 27 points behind AlphaTauri. This year, Williams will fall short of regularly challenging midfield teams. On the other hand, Albon has stepped up to the plate as squad leader and will look to improve on his four-point haul from last year.


McLaren fans may be in for a tough year: team head Zak Brown has revealed that the team has failed its 2023 development targets and fully intends to start the season on the back foot. It’s unclear how terrible things will be until after qualifying for the first race in Bahrain, but there’s a chance McClaren will end up near the back of the pack. Not what Lando Norris or rookie Oscar Piastri would have wanted.