Will the Purple Bull pressure get uncontrolled?
Purple Bull’s good begin to 2023 was barely overshadowed by early tensions between Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez within the newest outing in Saudi Arabia.
Verstappen’s cheeky last-ditch effort to grab the quickest lap – and with it an additional level – from his Purple Bull team-mate pissed off a victorious Perez in Jeddah.
It was a degree that helped Verstappen preserve his championship lead and will show essential on the finish of the season.
Perez’s displeasure with Verstappen’s actions has led to ideas of a possible battle inside Purple Bull because the staff’s drivers threat discovering themselves in an unique title combat.
In spite of everything, the duo have a historical past, with Purple Bull compelled to defuse pressure following a sizzling row of staff orders in Brazil final 12 months.
Perez’s efficiency in Jeddah, though aided by Verstappen’s qualifying drama, underscored that he’s decided to concern a sustained problem to the Dutchman for this season’s title.
Earlier one-team title fights corresponding to Senna vs. Prost or Hamilton vs. Rosberg have highlighted simply how messy issues can get, and Purple Bull may expertise an analogous headache once more this 12 months.
Can Purple Bull maintain each drivers pleased and stop tensions from rising if Verstappen and Perez frequently discover themselves dueling for wins?
Can Hamilton get the higher of W14?
Lewis Hamilton endured a troublesome and irritating weekend in Saudi Arabia as he ended up being overwhelmed by Mercedes team-mate George Russell in qualifying and the race.
The seven-time world champion admitted after the race that he wasn’t as snug with Mercedes’ W14 challenger as Russell, revealing one particular design component did not go well with him.
“There’s one thing particular with one thing concerning the automotive that I’ve by no means had earlier than,” Hamilton mentioned.
“It is a place that I did not have within the vehicles of earlier years. For me, that is what makes me uncomfortable. I simply must work laborious to verify it will get modified.
After being overwhelmed by Russell throughout 2022, Hamilton heads into this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix simply two factors and one place forward of Russell within the championship standings.
Will Hamilton’s struggles proceed on a circuit he loves, or will the Briton discover a technique to get the higher of his struggling machine?
Will Ferrari’s rocky begin proceed?
Ferrari took victory final 12 months, however this time round they aren’t in rivalry for victory heading to Melbourne.
Efficiency and reliability points weighed on Ferrari within the first two races, with an engine downside costing Charles Leclerc a podium end in Bahrain earlier than additional part modifications led to a drop within the grid in Saudi Arabia.
Ferrari had been surprisingly behind in Jeddah as Purple Bull raced to a different one-two end. Not solely did Carlos Sainz and Leclerc each end behind Fernando Alonso’s Aston Martin, however they had been additionally outclassed by Mercedes.
After being Purple Bull’s greatest challenger final 12 months, the Italian aspect have fallen again significantly and have a gaping deficit to reverse. With doubts over whether or not Ferrari is headed in the suitable course after a winter of upheaval, it is already shaping as much as be an extended season for F1’s most well-known staff.
Can Ferrari lastly get essentially the most out of their present bundle in Melbourne, or will it show to be one other fruitless weekend?
Three in a row for Alonso?
Apart from Purple Bull, Aston Martin was the actual success story of 2023.
It was an unimaginable turnaround for ‘Crew Silverstone’. After dropping to a disappointing seventh place within the 2021 Constructors’ Championship, Aston Martin discover themselves in a exceptional second after the primary two rounds of the marketing campaign.
In Bahrain and Jeddah, Alonso completed third behind the dominant Purple Bull drivers.
Whether or not Aston Martin can meet up with Purple Bull this season stays to be seen, however for now the staff are content material to play second fiddle, which has greater than exceeded their wildest low season expectations.
Can F1’s shock bundle edge Mercedes and Ferrari to say three podiums in Australia this weekend?