The 74th Formula One World Championship officially kicks off on March 5th, 2023. The Formula One season will run until November 26th. For the second time in the sport’s history, the season will have 23 races.
The Formula One 2022 season was heavily anticipated due to the rule changes—the biggest overhaul since the sport switched to hybrid engines in 2014. However, the season was plagued with difficulties after most of the cars kept bouncing on the tarmac.
The Formula One season was also the first time teams would have to operate with a budget cap of $140m. This was an attempt to even out the playing field. But some may argue that it hasn’t changed since the season was dominated by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who won a record 15 races in 2022.
Driver Shake Ups
Late last year, driver shake-ups changed the roster. Some teams, like Red Bull, Mercedes, Alfa Romeo, and Ferrari, remained precisely as they were. Four-time F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel announced his retirement in the middle of the 2022 season, which opened the door for multiple transfers. He was replaced by two-time F1 champion and oldest driver on the grid Fernando Alonso who left Alpine to join Aston Martin.
Mick Schumacher, son of Michael Schumacher, was fired from Haas after a dismal showing last season. Mercedes later hired him as a reserve driver. Veteran Nico Hulkenberg replaced Mick. Formula E champion Nyck De Vries finally got an F1 seat at 27. He joins Yuki Tsunoda at Alpha Tauri, replacing Pierre Gasly, who replaced Alonso at Alpine.
Daniel Ricciardo lost his F1 seat at McClaren after the team opted to renew his contract and poached Alpine reserve driver Oscar Piastri. Ricciardo now works as a reserve driver for his former team Red Bull. The USA also gets its first representation on the grid since 2015 after Williams signed Logan Sargeant. With so many new faces, fans are excited to see how well the fresh young blood will measure up against the old guard.
The Formula One 2023 season will see another 23 races. There are also new venues added to the F1 calendar. Last year, Miami hosted a race for the first time. F1 will have a third show in the US, apart from Texas. Las Vegas will host a brand-new night race that will take place on a street circuit on November 18th. It’s also the only race to happen on a Saturday night.
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Qatar also returns after its 2021 debut. China, which hasn’t held a race since the start of the pandemic, was also set to come back but had to cancel its race due to Covid-19 restrictions. F1 management announced they had no plans to replace it.
This year will also have six sprint weekends. Beforehand there were only three since the introduction of the sprint weekend. Formula One management is yet to share which venues will host the sprint events.
The cars will feature higher floors. The floors will be raised by 15mm to avoid teams running the cars as low as possible for maximum performance. This caused severe bouncing, which affected driver safety and visibility. Cars will also be subjected to thorough testing to ensure the teams aren’t using flexible floors to make them run closer to the ground.
The car’s roll cage will also be redesigned to prevent the car from digging into the ground in the event of a crash. This is after Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu crashed in Silverstone last year. His F1 car flipped, and the halo stuck in the ground, making rescue efforts difficult. The top will be more rounded, and the material will be strengthened.
The cars will also have larger wing mirrors for increased visibility.
Where to watch Formula One races in Nairobi
Plenty of hotels host watch Formula One parties in Nairobi for Formula One fans and the growing community. The F1 race-day calendar includes:
|Bahrain International Circuit||5 Mar|
Saudi Arabian GP
|Jeddah Street Circuit||19 Mar|
|Albert Park||2 Apr|
|Baku City Circuit||30 Apr|
|Miami International Autodrome||7 May|
Emilia Romagna GP
|Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari||21 May|
|Circuit de Monaco||28 May|
|Circuit de Catalunya||4 Jun|
|Circuit Gilles Villeneuve||18 Jun|
|Red Bull Ring||2 Jul|
|Circuit Silverstone||9 Jul|
|Circuit Zandvoort||27 Aug|
|Autodromo Nazionale Monza||3 Sep|
|Marina Bay Street Circuit||17 Sep|
|Suzuka Circuit||24 Sep|
|Losail International Circuit||8 Oct|
United States GP
|Circuit of the Americas||22 Oct|
|Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez||29 Oct|
|Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace Interlagos||5 Nov|
Las Vegas GP
|Las Vegas Street Circuit||19 Nov|
Abu Dhabi GP
|Yas Marina Circuit||26 Nov|
Formula One also streams on F1TV, with a subscription fee of $2.99 or $4.99 if you want the Pro version. DStv Supersport also broadcasts races for Premium subscribers.
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