2023 Formula One Qatar Grand Prix

Qatar Grand Prix 2023.jpg

Who are you backing in the 2023 Qatar Grand Prix?

  • Max Verstappen

    Votes: 40 38.8%
  • Sergio Perez

    Votes: 4 3.9%
  • Lewis Hamilton

    Votes: 11 10.7%
  • George Russell

    Votes: 1 1.0%
  • Fernando Alonso

    Votes: 7 6.8%
  • Lance Stroll

    Votes: 1 1.0%
  • Charles Leclerc

    Votes: 5 4.9%
  • Carlos Sainz

    Votes: 4 3.9%
  • Lando Norris

    Votes: 11 10.7%
  • Oscar Piastri

    Votes: 9 8.7%
  • Esteban Ocon

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Pierre Gasly

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Alex Albon

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Logan Sargeant

    Votes: 2 1.9%
  • Yuki Tsunoda

    Votes: 2 1.9%
  • Liam Lawson

    Votes: 1 1.0%
  • Valtteri Bottas

    Votes: 1 1.0%
  • Guanyu Zhou

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Kevin Magnussen

    Votes: 2 1.9%
  • Nico Hulkenberg

    Votes: 2 1.9%

  • Total voters
    103
From one fast, flowing track to the next. Formula One races its way to the Gulf region this weekend for the 2023 Qatar Grand Prix at Losail. Here's what to look out for.

Image credit: Red Bull Content Pool

Last time out, the Formula One circus flew to the land of the Rising Sun. Well, this weekend, it will be lights out at sunset as the fastest 20 drivers in the world take on the Losail circuit for the Qatar Grand Prix.

Just the second visit to this traditionally motorbike-oriented venue, organisers will be hoping that changes to the circuit this year will make for a more entertaining spectacle than 2021. A Sprint weekend, the event has twice the opportunity to provide a thrill whilst Max Verstappen has twice the chance of emerging from the weekend a step higher on the all-time list. Here's everything to look out for during the 2023 Formula One Qatar Grand Prix.

Crowning A Champion​

Much like at the last round, the big story of the weekend is the potential to etch another name onto a trophy. At the Japanese Grand Prix, a dominant race for Max Verstappen gave Red Bull Racing its sixth Constructors' Championship, despite a horrendous showing from Checo Perez.

Well, in Qatar, it's Red Bull's chance to repay to service. 180 points are available from post-Qatar to the end of the season. Meanwhile, Verstappen holds a 177-point advantage over his teammate in second place. So all the Dutchman needs to claim his third straight championship is score three points over the weekend.


In fact, the championship may well be decided in the Sprint race on Saturday, especially given Perez's untidy form of late. Whilst a depressing truth that the title will almost certainly be decided with a whopping five races to go, it does mean fans can finally enjoy the battle for third without distraction.

Just 75 points separate Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso, Carlos Sainz, Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris and George Russell. With each of the four teams shuffling order at each circuit, this is the race no-one can predict.

Will the tyres last?​

Since Formula One's last visit to Qatar in 2021, the Losail circuit has been resurfaced. Photos emerging during yesterday's media day show a very rough tarmac coating that is sure to wear the tyres out rapidly. Akin to the Welsh stones used in the Bahrain asphalt, this new surface shows each individual stone protruding from the black layer.


Couple this coarse track surface with the heat drivers are experiencing and the tyres will no-doubt suffer, even in the cooler evening conditions. Current weather reports show temperatures peaking near the 40°C mark during the day. Closer to race time, these drop to 30-35°C, but with tarmac proving great at retaining heat, one can expect a lot of blistering.

If previous data from Bahrain is anything to go by, this race may well include multi-stop strategies in a thrilling battle of tyre life.

Losail Circuit Layout​

For fans, this potentially increased tyre wear will be a gift from the racing gods. Catered best to bikes with its long, sweeping corners and lack of heavy braking zones, it is not a layout that encourages passing in cars.

The 2021 Qatar Grand Prix showed that cars struggled to follow through the front-limited back section of the track. The sequence of fast left-right corners with little to no straights in between left cars struggling to keep close without burning out the front axle. As a result, once drivers arrived on the front straight, they were much too far back to attempt any form of overtake.

Mercedes Qatar track map.jpg


Even if cars were close enough to get DRS onto the start-finish stretch, it was not long enough to make the most of the speed advantage. Furthermore, with Turn 1 following once again the shape of medium speed turn, there is not enough of a braking zone to get alongside.

Positively, this resurfacing may have addressed the circuit's 'boring' attributes to make for an exciting strategy race.

Another F1 Sprint in 2023​

The Qatar Grand Prix was chosen as one of the six Sprint race weekends for 2023. As a result, Saturday will see drivers race through a 100km sprint before getting to enjoy the demands of the longer GP.

If one is to believe the track surface in Losail resembles that of Bahrain, one could imagine even the Sprint race featuring pitstops. Famously, Charles Leclerc took an F2 sprint race win in Bahrain in 2017, despite opting for an aggressive pitstop strategy. Charging through the field then, could we see the Monegasque - or another racer - go for a similar risk on Saturday evening?


One thing is for sure, the addition of the Sprint format in Qatar means fans will get twice the qualifying action on a circuit that is all about commitment and pin-point precision. As aforementioned, the entire back end of the circuit is one continuous assault of corners that makes for a spectacular sight under the desert lights.

How to Watch the Qatar GP​

With twice the flat-out fun, with Qualifying both on Friday and on Saturday - in the form of the Shootout - it will be a good idea to keep track of the session times. Fans across the world can get up to speed with every on-track session this weekend on F1TV, depending on their country of residence. Here are all the session times to be aware of.

Friday​

Free Practice 1: 15:30 - 16:30 CET
Qualifying: 19:00 - 20:00 CET

Saturday​

Sprint Shootout: 15:00 - 15:50 CET
Sprint Race: 19:30 - 20:00 CET

Sunday​

Qatar Grand Prix: 19:00 - 21:00 CET

Are you looking forward to the 2023 Formula One Qatar Grand Prix?
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About author
Angus Martin
Motorsport gets my blood pumping more than anything else. Be it physical or virtual, I'm down to bang doors.

Comments

Premium
Most likely scenario is a Verstappen win followed by LH fans unironically telling people domination is ruining the sport.
No we're not. Because dominance (or dynasties) make the sport what it is for that/this era. And we are in the midst of an era right now. It gives us something to talk about 10, 15, or 20 years from now. When I was a kid, Senna was the man, everyone was talking about Lauda and Hunt. And I was like, 'what the hell is a Lauda?' And when Michael Schumacher was dominant in the Ferrari, and people were talking about how Senna dominated, I was like, 'oh yeah, Ayrton Senna--yeah, he was a driver's driver!' With Hamilton's dominance, fans were talking about Schumacher . . . and so on. Dominance lead to dynasties, stats and history become legend, legend becomes myth.
 
Premium
Most likely scenario is a Verstappen win followed by LH fans unironically telling people domination is ruining the sport.
Domination is great! It's so cool watching Max lead lap after lap. I'm at the edge of my seat with all the drama. What funny thing will Max say on the radio when leading? The suspense is killing me.
 
Premium
First corner massacre with Wreckfest Lewis on P3
Nah, he'll expect the dive down the inside at turn one by Georgie boi (the one that damages Max's car) and Lewis will run wide returning to the track with Leclerc and Alonso in the mix, Max will have to pit for a new front wing and Oscar and Lando will move up to 2nd and 3rd until George comes in for his penalty, then we'll see a McLaren One Two with max fighting back for yet another poduim. :)
 
Premium
Nah, he'll expect the dive down the inside at turn one by Georgie boi (the one that damages Max's car) and Lewis will run wide returning to the track with Leclerc and Alonso in the mix, Max will have to pit for a new front wing and Oscar and Lando will move up to 2nd and 3rd until George comes in for his penalty, then we'll see a McLaren One Two with max fighting back for yet another poduim. :)
This would be a nice scenario ;)
 
Really sorry for both lando and oscar, the post qualifying interviews got a bit ridiculous xD.. also nice to see fernando competitive, apparently this wasn't a good track for his aston, just look at stroll btw :whistling:
 
Premium
Not sure this track will be good for actual racing, but we'll see. I do expect some clumsiness in the first couple of laps both in the Sprint and the main race. So far, I don't like this track at all.
 
Not sure this track will be good for actual racing, but we'll see. I do expect some clumsiness in the first couple of laps both in the Sprint and the main race. So far, I don't like this track at all.

On the bright side, Max made a mistake
 
Drove the AC mod Yesterday. The track layout doesn't need sand, it needs salt. It's tasteless. And dull. Hope the race will be a bit more entertaining than those 20 laps I drove myself.
 
Last edited:
So problems with the tyres, today's qualifying delayed by 20 minutes, maybe 3 mandatory pit stops tomorrow
 

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