Top 4 Things in F1 Season Opener to Watch


By The Anand Market  

Get ready for lights out 

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The 2023 Formula 1 season kicks off this weekend with the Bahrain Grand Prix, the first of 23 races on the calendar. Here are four things to look forward to before "lights out and away we go" at the Bahrain International Circuit. 

Max launches title defense 

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All eyes will be fixated on the reigning champs: Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing. The Dutchman has never won the season opener or a race in Bahrain. He and teammate Sergio Perez will hope to at least improve on their cataclysmic failure in Bahrain last year. 

Red Bull's double retirement 

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How good is Ferrari? 

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Ferrari capitalized on Red Bull's double retirement last year with a Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr. 1-2 finish. Under new team principal Fred Vasseur, can they start hot again? And if so, can they sustain momentum? 

Dazzling debuts 

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How will the rookies fare? Nyck de Vries got a taste of action last year when he filled in for an injured Alex Albon with Williams but now has a full-time gig with AlphaTauri. Meanwhile, Oscar Piastri (pictured) will be taking his first official laps with McLaren after jilting Alpine. 

Dazzling debuts cont'd 

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Logan Sargeant will become the first full-time American driver on the grid since 2015. With the sport growing in the U.S., which now hosts a trio of GPs, he'll be a captivating watch. He's not expected to impress right out of the gate in a Williams, but a down-grid battle early in the season could get folks talking. 

Is preseason performance legit? 

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Following former champ Fernando Alonso's incredibly promising test runs, is Aston Martin ready to make the leap? Is it merely the best of the midfield? Or is it a complete pretender set to end up near the back of the pack like last year? 

Preseason performance cont'd 

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Mercedes, led by seven-time champ Lewis Hamilton, also looked exceptionally promising. Could it fend off Red Bull and top the grid? Or can Alfa Romeo, coming off very strong preseason runs and led by Hamilton's old teammate Valtteri Bottas, get in the way? 

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