Experts in the new Formula 1 season: Red Bull looks very strong

At the start of the new season, everything seems to indicate that Max Verstappen at Red Bull can make a serious attempt to become world champion again. Because the first free practice sessions in Bahrain also escalated.

Red Bull is off to a good start

Former driver and RTL GP presenter Allard Calff has closely followed the pre-season. It’s clear: “If you look at the testing days, Red Bull has the strongest package. I think it’s too early to say it will be the best in 23 races.”

So last week’s test days went well for Red Bull, less so for the competitors. “Red Bull Racing is the fastest,” says Calff. “Behind that you have Ferrari and Mercedes, but Aston Martin is probably the third team at the moment, just ahead of Mercedes. There is no level behind that.”

The fact that good things are being organized for Aston Martin at the start of the new season was demonstrated today in the free practice sessions, with Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso setting the second fastest time, ahead of Verstappen and was fastest in the second practice. .


Betsky-Vesser also witnessed Red Bull’s excellence during his testing days. Visser is a driver in the W Series, where she finished second last year. “I’m curious about tomorrow’s qualifiers,” Visser says. “Then we’ll really see how each team comes out of the winter break. We’ve already seen something in testing, but after those days of testing you still don’t know exactly who’s driving what kind of thing.”

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Anyway, Visser and Calf are hoping for a nice fight. “I hope it’s exciting,” Visser says. “It’s the best thing to watch, when it’s a good fight on the track. Red Bull look very strong so far, but we’ll see.”

“From me, Max can win 20 races. But I hope we see battles in every race,” Calff says.

Nick de Vries

Although most eyes will be on world champion Max Verstappen, there will also be plenty of attention this season for newcomer Nyck de Vries. The 28-year-old Frisian made his first-class debut last season as a substitute, and immediately hit the mark by finishing ninth during the Italian Grand Prix.

This season, de Vries is the regular driver for Alpha Tauri. Although the chances of him being able to compete at the top of the rankings are slim, expectations are high. “In principle, Nyck de Vries’ car should be good enough to score points,” said Allard Calff. And you can only achieve this with a place in the top ten.

Betsky knows Visser Nyck de Vries from her hometown of Uitwellingerga (population 425), and is looking forward to his performance this season. “We come from the same village,” she says, “we have known each other since childhood.” “I know he works hard for it. And he’s shown how great he is throughout his career. He’s got to believe in himself, and then it’s going to be okay.”

Allard Kalff especially hopes De Vries does not forget to enjoy this season: “I expect nothing more and more from Nyck de Vries than that he gets the most out of himself, his car and his team, and that he enjoys it. We’ll see the result at the end of the year.”

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New faces and old acquaintances

In addition to De Vries, there are two new faces in Formula 1 this season. Australian Oscar Piastri will drive for McLaren in 2023. He replaced Daniel Ricciardo, who we will not see on the grid this year.

Logan Sargeant made his Formula 1 debut for the Williams team. The American has been driving in his native country no fewer than three times this season. In addition to the United States Grand Prix at the Austin circuit, races in Miami and Las Vegas are also on the calendar this year.

After two years as reserve driver, Nico Hulkenberg returned as a regular driver. He will head to Haas this season to replace Mick Schumacher.

full calendar

The racing calendar is more packed than ever this year, with no fewer than 23 races to come. In addition to the race in Las Vegas, the Qatar Grand Prix was also added to the program. Losail International Circuit has already been raced in 2021, and the circus will return this year.

Of course, F1 will visit Zandvoort again this year, in the last weekend of August. The Dutch Grand Prix will start on Sunday, August 27.

Machinists and engineers are also away from home for long periods of time

According to Calfe, 23 races in one season is actually too much. “It’s very tough, not only for the drivers, but also for the teams around them. You can still say the drivers are on a million dollar salary, but all the mechanics and engineers are also away from home for 23 weeks this year.”

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Visser doesn’t think the full calendar can play a role in the championship over the course of a season. “Of course it makes it heavier. You have less rest in between, and travel takes its toll.” However, she believes the drivers are ready for the busy season: “I think all the drivers have trained hard over the winter and are in good physical shape. That shouldn’t be a problem.”

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