Analysis: Things we learned from the 2023 F1 season

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Although the 2024 Formula 1 season is just around the corner, F1Technical’s senior writer Balázs Szabó takes a look back at the last year’s championship, picking up some key facts, stats and trivia.

19 – In total, Max Verstappen amassed 19 wins in 2023 with which he surpassed his own previous record from 2022 when he secured 15 wins during the season. Back in 2022, the Dutch driver surpassed the record of 13 race victories in a season which both Michael Schumacher (2004) and Sebastian Vettel (2013) achieved previously.

Pole positions – Verstappen secured the highest number of pole position, having set the fastest qualifying lap in 12 events. Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc took five pole positions in 2023, but he failed to convert these starting positions into a race win.

Despite enduring a challenging year in 2023, Red Bull driver Sergio Perez secured two pole positions, the same number as Ferrari’s Spanish driver Carlos Sainz. Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton took a surprise pole position at the Hungarian Grand Prix, but he failed to win the Budapest F1 race.

Rookie drivers – The 2023 F1 season saw Logan Sargeant and Oscar Piastri make their grand prix debut. The Australian had a slow start to the season, but he quickly picked up his speed, scoring a pole and a win in sprint races. In the end, the former F2 and F3 champion scored a total of 97 points, ending the year ninth in the Drivers’ Championship.

The American driver had a torrid season, having lined up last on the grid more often than any other driver, doing so six times.

Closely matched – Pierre Gasly left the AlphaTauri team at the end of last year to join Alpine for 2023. Although the pair was expected to create an intra-team rivalry, Ocon and Gasly survived the year without huge conflicts. The two French drivers ended the year 11th and 12th in the Drivers’ Championship, only four points separated.

Similarly closely matched were the Alfa Romeo pair as Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu finished the year 15th and 18th respectively with four points separating the Finn and the Chinese driver.

While Carlos Sainz headed Charles Leclerc in the Drivers’ Standings for most of the year, the season-closing Abu Dhabi Grand Prix saw the Monegasque jump ahead of the Spaniard to finish the year six points ahead.

86.4% - Verstappen's record of 19 wins across 22 events gave him a percentage of 86.3% with which he surpassed a record that Alberto Ascari has held since 1952. The Italian won six races in 8 events in 1952, achieving a percentage of 75%. Michael Schumacher’s highest percentage was 72.22%, achieved in his most dominant season of 2004 while Sebastian Vettel recorded a percentage of 68.42% in his most commanding year in 2013.

10 – Verstappen broke Vettel’s previous record of 9 consecutive wins as well. The Dutchman recorded a winning streak of 10 victories between the Miami and the Italian Grand Prix.

Interestingly, Verstappen ended the season with seven consecutive wins which means that he ‘only’ needs to win the opening four races of the season to beat his own record.

1003 – Verstappen spent 1003 laps in 2023 in the lead which is a new record in the history of Formula One.

575 - Verstappen secured his third F1 title with a tally of 575 points, breaking his own record from the 2022 F1 season when he scored a total of 454 points. The previous record belonged to Lewis Hamilton, who collected 413 points to win his sixth F1 crown in 2019.

9 – It was Verstappen to secure the highest number of fastest laps in 2023 as he set the quickest race lap in 9 events. It was the same feat that former two-time world champion Mika Häkkinen achieved back in 2000. However, the absolute record is a total of ten fastest race laps in the same year, achieved by Michael Schumacher in 2004 and Kimi Räikkönen in 2005 and 2008.

12 - Verstappen secured the pole position in 12 races in 2023. However, it is still far from the absolute record as Sebastian Vettel took 15 pole positions in 19 races in 2023. In terms of ratio, Nigel Mansell had a more convincing result in 1992 as he secured 14 pole positions in 16 races.

Weather conditions - Austin proved to be the hottest race of the year in terms of ambient temperature, with 34.7 degrees centigrade on Saturday during the Sprint race and 32.8 degrees during Sunday’s Grand Prix. Zandvoort was the coolest, with an average temperature of 15.1 degrees. In terms of asphalt temperature, Hungaroring was the hottest race of the year with 53.6 degrees, while the coolest was Las Vegas with 18.5 degrees.

Longest stint - As for the longest stints are concerned, McLaren rookie driver Oscar Piastri stood out with his extremely long run in Jeddah. On only his second Formula 1 race appearance, the Australian was forced to stop at the end of lap one to change a damaged front wing following contact with Pierre Gasly. At the same time, he bolted on a set of C2 tyres that he drove all the way to the flag: a total distance of 302.5 kilometres.

Number of sets - In total, Pirelli’s Formula 1 tyres drove nearly eight times around Earth’s circumference throughout the 22 Grands Prix that made up the 2023 season. Specifically, 307,925.8 kilometres were travelled over 60,473 laps by the 6,847 sets of tyres that were driven for at least one lap.

Fastest tyre change – McLaren broke the previous record of fastest tyre change. The papaya-coloured team serviced Lando Norris’ MCL60 at the Qatar Grand Prix in just 1.80s with which McLaren achieved a new world record, surpassing Red Bull’s previous best time of 1.82s.