It may seem slightly harsh to put Williams last given some of Alex Albon’s heroics in 2022, but that is purely a consequence of Logan Sargeant being such an unknown quantity.
The F2 race-winner and frontrunner has potential to be a real hit in his rookie season, but he may equally struggle with the transition, which may come at the detriment of Williams.
It is therefore hard to justify a higher-placing for the Grove-based outfit’s driver pairing. Maybe that will all change in 12 months’ time.
AlphaTauri’s driver line-up looks notably weaker following the departure of Pierre Gasly, who led the Faenza squad superbly for three years after his failed Red Bull stint.
Despite a solid, yet unremarkable sophomore campaign, Yuki Tsunoda still has a lot to prove in F1 and question marks still remain whether he has what it takes to lead a team.
Nyck de Vries showed what he is capable of in his impressive last-minute F1 debut with Williams at Monza last year, and his performance across that weekend is the reason AlphaTauri have edged Williams.
On paper, Haas have one of the most solid and consistent driver pairings on the grid with F1 veteran Nico Hulkenberg teaming up with Kevin Magnussen.
Magnussen put in the star displays for Haas in 2022 and showed that on his day he is capable of pulling off very special results, while Hulkenberg could be more than just a safe pair of hands if he performs anything like in his previous career.
7. Alfa Romeo
Picking between Haas and Alfa Romeo was a real toss up that could have gone either way, but Alfa Romeo marginally gets the nod thanks largely to Valtteri Bottas.
Bottas proved to be an instant hit at Alfa Romeo and flourished in his new surroundings, collecting 49 of the Swiss outfit’s 55 points as well as the P6 finish that ultimately swung the battle against Aston Martin for sixth place in the constructors’ championship in their favour.
Zhou Guanyu may be viewed as the weak link in Alfa’s line-up, but the Chinese driver showed flashes of promise and has the potential to improve on a respectable first F1 season.
6. Aston Martin
Aston Martin are this high solely because of the star quality Fernando Alonso brings to the table.
The two-time world champion was one of the strongest performers in 2022 and proved that he is still capable of great things if he has the machinery underneath him.
Alonso will provide Lance Stroll with a much tougher benchmark than Sebastian Vettel did, and potentially force the Canadian to raise his game.
Alpine boasts a strong driver line-up on paper, having brought in Gasly to partner Esteban Ocon after Alonso made the switch to Aston Martin.
Outside of the big three, Alpine are the only other team on the grid that have two grand prix winners in their F1 2023 line-up.
2021 Hungarian Grand Prix winner Ocon held his own against Alonso over two seasons, while 2020 Italian Grand Prix winner Gasly has been one of the standout midfield drivers for several years, though his performances did dip at times during a somewhat underwhelming 2022 campaign.
Alpine and McLaren is another close call but given Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri’s star potential, Woking holds a slender advantage over Enstone here.
Norris has proved he can make the difference for McLaren even with an underperforming teammate – as seen with Daniel Ricciardo’s struggles to match the Briton across 2021 and 2022.
Piastri is an unknown quantity in F1 but is highly-rated, having demonstrated his qualities in a glittering junior career that saw him win the F3 and F2 titles in consecutive years. There is little reason to suggest he won’t be a success in F1.
3. Red Bull
Both Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez each enjoyed their strongest F1 seasons in 2022 amid Red Bull’s double championship-winning campaign, but it isn’t enough to lift them higher than third on this list.
While Verstappen is the in-form driver on the F1 grid and continuing to find new levels year-on-year, the performance gap between himself and teammate Perez is still too wide to consider Red Bull’s line-up as being the class of the field on pure talent.
Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz were more evenly matched in terms of performance than the final championship table suggested in 2022.
Sainz recovered from a tricky start to the year and was much closer to Leclerc by the end of the campaign, but the pair’s tendency to make critical errors makes it difficult to justify Ferrari as having the outright best line-up.
In terms of potential, they are right up there. Leclerc is arguably the fastest driver on the grid over one lap, while Sainz brings consistency and an impressive work ethic. They are a formidable pairing that looks like Ferrari’s best bet for delivering the elusive title that all at Maranello are craving.
Taking top spot is Mercedes. Despite suffering what was statistically the worst season of his F1 career, Lewis Hamilton showed enough to suggest that he is still at the top of his game. In my opinion, Hamilton and Verstappen remain a step ahead of the rest.
What influenced Mercedes moving ahead of Ferrari (compared to last year’s ranking) was seeing just how good George Russell was. There was much hype surrounding his promotion, but the Briton did an even more impressive job than most people expected.
If Mercedes provide Hamilton and Russell with a car worthy of their talent, this is a world championship-dominating combination.