Grand Prix 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

It's time for the SPECTACULAR, SEASON ENDING, CHAMPIONSHIPS DECIDING, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Take your seats, strap in tight, for a roller coaster of high quality sporting action, which will keep you nervously watching until the final lap to see who will be the 2023 World Champion driver and team.


It's the last race of one of the dullest season in F1 since the days of Schumacher/Ferrari dominance. One driver and one team has wiped the floor with every other team, with both titles pretty much decided after the first race of the season when Max Verstappen beat his team mate by nearly 12 seconds. Over the next few races Perez managed to snatch a couple of wins, but as the season went on he struggled with how the car was developed and slowly dropped away from his team mate, often not even managing to get in to the final qualifying sessions,

So what has 2023 shown us? Love him or loathe him Max Verstappen is, undoubtedly, a superb racing driver. It remains to be seen if any of the other the "post Hamilton" generation can challenge Max, and this will very much depend on the car that the teams can prepare for their drivers. From a dismal start to the season McLaren have managed to drag their car closer to the front, with regular podiums and a sprint race win for newbie Oscar Piastri.

Ferrari have a car which is almost there. Carlos Sainz managed the only non-Red Bull win in a Grand Prix by using the old trick of driving as slowly as you can and still finishing first. Team mate Charles le Clerc has been good over a single lap when qualifying, but the car isn't able to maintain the performance for a whole race.

Mid-year Mercedes had a move around in their technical department, with James Allison coming back to a day to day role, replacing Mike Elliot. Shortly after, the design concept the team had struggled with for best part of a season and a half was dumped and the Merc looked pretty much like every other car on the grid, except painted black. The car got a bit better, but still isn't at the level Mercedes have performed at over recent years, and although second in the Constructors Championship they are so far behind Red Bull it's a bit embarrassing.

Aston Martin hired Fernando Alonso to driver alongside Lance Stroll for 2023, and the Spaniard bought his fabled six tenths to the team, with Alonso very much "best of the rest" behind the Red Bull's in the early part of the season. Performances dropped a little as the season progressed, and hit a low at Austin when the team didn't have time in testing to sort the upgrades bought to the car due to the truncated practice sessions because of the sprint race. At subsequent races they managed to work things through and the car came back towards the front, with Alonso stealing second place in Brazil from Sergio Perez right at the end of the race.

Red Bull B team, Alpha Tauri, started the season with now "veteran" Yuki Tsunoda and rookie Nick de Vries, who impressed with a one off drive at Williams in 2022. The car wasn't great, but de Vries certainly wasn't getting the best out of it and by Hungary he had been dropped in favour of Daniel Ricciardo, who was trying to rebuild his reputation after a dreadful time at McLaren last year. Three races in an Daniel broke his wrist participating for the Dutch GP which forced Red Bull to parachute in Liam Lawson, who put in some very creditable performances and showed that he is ready for F1. Ricciardo came back to the team in Austin and has been getting about the same level of performance out of the car as Tsunoda, but still the talk is of him returning to the senior Red Bull team in 2024 to replace Sergio Perez.

Super French team, Alpine, based at Enstone in Oxfordshire, have managed a couple of podiums but otherwise it's hardly been a stellar year. There have been various changes in team personnel during 2023 and investment from a number of celebrities, which whilst probably quite good from a PR perspective doesn't seem to have done much to make the car go any faster. Will 2024 be any better? They recently appointed a new Technical Director, who is ex-Mercedes and Ferrari, so who knows.

Alex Albon in the Williams has been the revelation of the season for me. Having had the life blood drained from him when partnering Max at Red Bull he seems to have found a good place at Williams. Logan Sergeant has been less impressive, it will be interesting to see if he gets a second season or if Williams look around for a different pay driver to help the team out in 2024. Team principle James Vowels has been the only person who Sky have spoken to on the pit wall this season who has actually added anything to the TV coverage, and after many years in the doldrums Williams do seem to be getting things sorted. Perhaps one of the new manufacturers sniffing around F1 might want to reinvigorate one of the sports former leading lights.

Alfa Romeo and Haas continue on, although I'm not sure exactly what either team gets from the huge amount of money they must be spending. It was very interesting in the Brawn documentary, when discussing engines, that all the power unit suppliers made an offer to supply the team in 2009 after Honda withdrew. Ferrari was dismissed almost immediately as the team knew that if they got close to the factory cars then the engines would suddenly become less powerful. Who at Brawn would have had that sort of insight? I wonder if Alfa Romeo and Haas have watched this show? Whatever the details, both teams have given us some interesting mid-field battles but the chances of them moving further up the field are very limited.

So there's my season review. We are now left with this final race, which takes place at night, in the desert, so that a European audience can watch it at prime time. No point in having races in Europe when there are oil dollars to collect from sports washing, despotic regimes, in the Middle-East is there?

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it has been the worst season since 2004 but there have been a few highlights norris taking the lead in Silverstone, the 4 way ending to Singapore, wet race in zandvoort, i quite enjoyed las Vegas. but all in all this has been the worst season since 2004, i dont see how things can get any worse

i hope that McLaren will continue there resurgence, Mercedes & Ferrari get their arse in gear, & stop being useless. but i can see the same things that they did to Schumacher in 2004 happening to Verstappen if he he carries on where he left off this yr. because the viewing figures will collapse & the pressure will increase from tv companies

but there is hope dominant years are very rarely followed up. as this is a table of what followed the top 5 most dominant winning seasons until max broke every record. including this 1

1952 - Ascari - won 75% of the races. / 1953 - Ascari won but season went down to the final race

2004 - Schumacher - won 72.22%. / 2005 - Alonso won the title

1963 - Clark - won 70% / 1964 - Surtees won the title but season went down to the final race

2013 - Vettel - won 68.5% / 2014 - Hamilton won the title but season went down to the final race

2022 - Verstappen - won 68.2% / 2023 - Verstappen even more dominant, won with 5 races to go
George beat all the newbies having a go in an F1 car in FP1. Go George, you stick it to all the kids! Meanwhile Carlos Sainz has trashed his Ferrari again, but his fault this time, and bought out the red flag.

It's interesting how lots of people on Twitter are all complaining that Verstappen was overtaking the Mercedes cars in the tunnel out of the pitlane... Of course, very few are complaining about how slowly cars are exiting the pitlane.

At some point, there is going to be a stupid accident in the pit exit, all caused by the fact that cars need to:
1. Baby the tyres on the outlap
2. Create a gap for a "fast lap"

It's time that F1 had tyres that just worked. Maybe they need to take a leaf out of Formula E's book.
Verstappen with no FP1 & highly interurpted FP2. seems to be very unhappy in that red bull, appartantly made 3 suspension changes in 1st 35 mins of FP3. has been complaining of Understeer, jumping & bottoming
The last minute set up changes worked for Verstappen seemed to get the car into a place where he was comfortable

& Norris will be kicking himself. he knows he shouldve been on that front row but for that mistake under the hotel
An awful race topped off with the sound of Christian Horner making a mess of his underpants while talking on the radio to Verstappen.

Clean up in aisle 3, mop and bucket required. :sick:

Blnk and it will be the start of the 2024 season. Please dear God don't let another season like this happen again next year.
it was about a 4/10 race, but then abu dhabi never has delivered great races

very thankful this season is over, i was relieved this was the final race, worst season for me since 2004, that's not Red Bulls fault, but like Schumacher back then, we are in desperate need of competition in 2024, otherwise i worry for F1 popularity because you can only stomach this for 1 year. we were still suffering from the effects of Schumacher dominance 10yrs later. so i can see rule changes coming if verstappen wins in bahrain

1st time since 1952 we havent heard the British National anthem either
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I don’t think the people running F1 will do anything about this. Next year will be the same.
im being optimstic i know, & this is a different regime. but they had multiple rules changes to slow down ferrari, wasnt the 2005 tyre rule to slow ferrari, i believe its the reason we have the qualifying we have now, 2021 they cut the rear downforce to bring mercedes back to the pack

but viewing figures will be the big thing, less viewers, less valuable the sponsorship will be at the track & on tv

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