6 Reasons to Watch the Second Half of Red Bull Dominated F1 Season

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Formula 1 is back on the road this weekend at Zandvoort, Netherlands with the first of 10 Grands Prix across 14 weeks to conclude a completely one-sided 2023 season. But while the on-track fight for victories the rest of the season may be disappointingly predictable, thanks to Red Bull's dominance, there’s still plenty to keep an eye out for across the remainder of the year.

Here's six storylines we'll be watching:

Will the FIA Approve the New Teams?

The process for finding prospective new teams to join the Formula 1 grid in 2025 or 2026 was started by FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem just two days into 2023. It has been a lengthy and rigorous task and has now stretched over half a year. The most high-profile candidates are the Cadillac-affiliated Andretti entry and a bid by junior single-seater entity Hitech.


Ben Sulayem has been proactive and positive on the matter which, while no guarantee that one or both will receive approval, is a different stance to that adopted by Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali and most of the teams. In spite of the mandatory $200 million anti-dilution fee payable by a new team Domenicali and the current squads are wary that another entrant will lessen their share of the revenue while posing a risk to the health of the current teams.

This is being played out amid the backdrop of a more tense relationship between the FIA and Liberty Media compared to the tenure of Ben Sulayem’s predecessor Jean Todt. Domenicali has previously indicated that a decision on new teams is expected in September.

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FIA Cost Cap Administration Report for 2022 Coming

Formula 1’s financial regulations were introduced in 2021 and that season’s findings were published on October 10th last year, at which point it was revealed that Aston Martin and Williams had committed a procedural breach, while Red Bull was deemed to have committed a procedural breach and a minor overspend breach.

Red Bull was fined $7 million and was docked 10% of its wind tunnel time. Rumors emerged during the pre-summer Grands Prix that several teams were potentially in breach of the 2022 financial regulations, speculation which was “completely unfounded," according to the FIA.

The Cost Cap Administration, at least in late July, was still in the process of its auditing fieldwork and no team had yet been issued the required compliance certificate or conversely informed that any breach had been committed.

No timeframe has been outlined in terms of delivering the 2022 results in a public sphere but last year’s date—as well as the FIA expanding the number of people working on the auditing—provides an indication. If any team—or if multiple teams—have breached the cap then it will bring the integrity of Formula 1’s financial regulations under the microscope more intensely given the importance Liberty Media has placed on the cap.

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Who supplies the tires from 2025?

Pirelli has been Formula 1’s sole tire supplier since 2011 and in that time it has responded ably to the requests of the championship and the FIA.

During Pirelli’s tenure it has had to adjust to faster cars, revised aerodynamic regulations governing width and rim size, and the target letter regarding durability and wear. Earlier this year the FIA opened an invitation to tender for Formula 1—as well as support categories Formula 2 and Formula 3—for 2025-27, with an option for 2028.

Pirelli has submitted a bid while it is understood Bridgestone has also thrown its hat into the ring. Formula 1 and the FIA is considering the technical and commercial merits of both companies. Pirelli’s presence in Formula 1 extends beyond just a tire supplier, with the company one of Formula 1’s global partners, a title sponsor of two Grands Prix, while it also has activations in fan zones at Grands Prix and through its VIP Hot Laps Experience.

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Two Races for the United States, Including Las Vegas

A full 20% of the remainder of the 2023 Formula 1 season will take place on U.S. soil in wildly contrasting locations.

First up is the ever-popular United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas, an event for the hardcore fans, which last year was attended by 440,000 spectators Thursday through Sunday. A similar vibe is expected for this season’s round as COTA organizers build on the platform of the last couple of years.

A few weeks later Formula 1 will return to the U.S. but will do so along the streets of Las Vegas. There have been oodles of hype around Las Vegas and the sight of 20 Formula 1 cars blasting along the Strip beneath the neon lights and night sky will surely be quite the spectacle.

Las Vegas is already expected to be akin to the likes of Monaco, Miami or Singapore, but amplified to the maximum, in terms of an event, but what about as an actual race?

It is the only all-new track on the 2023 calendar, and teams and drivers will have to quickly get up to speed and learn its nuances. The track surface itself will be new—adding another challenge—while a start time of 10 p.m. local time (1 a.m. ET) in mid-November means it may not be the warmest of encounters.

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Will Silly Season Produce any Surprises?

There isn’t a huge amount to decide for 2024. Lewis Hamilton has previously insisted that he and Mercedes are very close to a renewal—with details going back and forth between lawyers—and a multi-year deal is expected. Haas has decided to keep Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen, while Alfa Romeo (which will revert to its Sauber name) has expressed a desire to retain Zhou Guanyu.

Logan Sargeant has not set the world alight but he was promoted earlier than expected for 2023 and Williams has been patient as he strives to put the pieces of the puzzle into place. There is AlphaTauri (or whatever that will be called), which appears to have three into two, with Yuki Tsunoda improving, Daniel Ricciardo only two races into a surprise comeback, and Liam Lawson waiting in the wings.

Of greater interest will be any early moves from drivers or teams out of contract after 2024, particularly with new engine regulations lurking on the horizon for 2026.

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How Red Bull's Rivals Are Preparing for 2024

Max Verstappen and Red Bull will be the 2023 World Champions, and it is now just a matter of when, not if, they wrap up the Drivers' and Constructors' Championships.

Stable regulations mean Red Bull is already devoting its resources to its 2024 package and it is in a healthy position given the sizeable advantage it has with the RB19. Red Bull’s opponents are no fools, for they know 2023 is lost in terms of the biggest prizes and anything gained now will stand them in good stead for 2024, with key decisions having to be made imminently over car design philosophy and various architecture.

The battle for second has ebbed and flowed through 2023 between Mercedes, Aston Martin and Ferrari, with McLaren now having joined the party, and the off-track basket case Alpine also a sporadic interloper. That trend is expected to continue between now and Abu Dhabi and while achieving strong results in 2023 is of course an ambition, the bigger target for these teams—particularly Mercedes and Ferrari—is to avoid the mistakes of 2023 and to start 2024 in title contention.

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