A year of change for Formula 1’s challengers

Alpine led the challengers by a considerable margin, scoring 120 points

Although there was a fascinating battle behind Red Bull among the top five teams, there was also much competition between the remaining teams with winners and losers in the fight for midfield positions. 

Out of the challengers, it was Alpine who claimed the top spot. Although Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly showcased glimpses of potential, including a podium for Ocon in Monaco and Gasly in the Netherlands, unpredicability plagued the team. On the weekend after Gasly’s podium, the Alpines finished with a DNF and 15th – an indication of their inconsistency. 

In many other ways, 2023 was an optimistic season for Alpine. Amid their struggles, a renewed hope for the future was provided after the team received investments from a star-studded group, including actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, golfer Rory McIlroy, and NFL Super Bowl champions Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce.  

While Alpine had a tough season, it was a year of resurgence for Williams. In their best Constructors’ Championship finish since 2017, the team’s strategic edge secured their position above AlphaTauri. 

Alex Albon emerged with a series of solid performances, leading to him scoring 27 of the team’s 28 points. Under the new leadership of James Vowles, Williams are on an upward trajectory, providing hope as they strive to make progress in the coming seasons.  

Despite AlphaTauri finishing eighth, Daniel Ricciardo’s surprise return to Formula 1 was a major story this season. In the first half of the season, the team acquired only 3 points before their driver rotation. By the end of the year, equipped with their lineup of Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda and a host of upgrades, they finished with 25 points, only 3 behind Williams.  

Heading into 2024, AlphaTauri are set to have a complete transformation, with the departure of Team Principal Franz Tost being a major change going forward. As Laurent Mekies takes the helm, AlphaTauri’s focus will be on rebuilding and rebranding while they work with their drivers to deliver a robust future. 

Another team undergoing a transformation next season is Alfa Romeo. As the Sauber team begin their evolution into Audi for 2026, a name change will mark the start of their gradual rebranding process.  

As for 2023, Alfa Romeo had a year of missed opportunities. Though they showed some promise, such as earning points in four of the first eight races, their main issue was achieving consistent point-scoring performances. As the team head towards the future, they’ll be looking to develop a solid foundation with their stable driver lineup before taking a new identity in partnership with Audi. 

Finishing last in the Constructors' for the second time in three years, Haas faced a concerning lack of performance. Compared to their promising 2022 season, in which they made progress by finishing eighth with Mick Schumacher and Kevin Magnussen, Haas had a challenging 2023. The team will need substantial improvements heading into 2024 if they’re to maintain their competitiveness in the ever-evolving F1 world.  

As the paddock anticipates 2024, these teams will have many critical decisions and challenges ahead of them. The effort and perseverance they invest will be key in their upcoming seasons, but only time will tell if anyone can replicate Aston Martin's success of leaping from the bottom five to securing podium places. 

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