F1 2023 season, explained:

F1 2023 season, explained: Formula 1 schedule, drivers, teams, DRS rules, sprints, salaries & more

If you’re new to Formula 1, now is the perfect time to join in the fun.

With Max Verstappen bidding to win a third world title in a row, Ferrari desperate to shake off the frustrations of their technical performance last season and Lewis Hamilton still hoping to set a new record for drivers’ championships, 2023 is set to be an intriguing year in the sport.

As ever, the new season brings with it new cars, races, and regulations to create more drama and hopefully make for an entertaining spectacle.

To get you up to speed, Sporting News answers all the key questions for any F1 newcomer.

Formula 1 is the pinnacle of motorsport and the highest class of single-seater racing. F1 races with open-wheel cars, on both permanent race tracks and street circuits, with a new one coming in 2023 on the Las Vegas Strip, no less. F1 visits traditional racing hotspots such as the UK, Monaco, Italy, and Belgium every season and has recently ventured into new territories such as Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the Netherlands, and Azerbaijan.

F1 has a competition structure that involves 10 teams, with two drivers per team. It is effectively a league table format, with points racked up over the course of the season (more on that later).

The world championship was founded in 1950 and is sanctioned by the FIA, which sets the rules and regulations. The sport is unique as teams build their own distinct cars every year, following the rules and regulations set by the FIA. Often they create cars with high cornering speeds. On average, F1 cars generate a top speed of over 200 mph (320 kph) on the straights.

How does F1 qualifying work?

Qualifying is used to determine the grid positions for the race on Sunday and traditionally takes place on a Saturday — or on a Friday afternoon during Sprint weekends (detailed next in this guide).

The session is split into three parts. In Q1, all drivers take the track to set the fastest lap time possible in 18 minutes. The slowest five drivers are dropped from the session and will start the race from their finishing position. Q2 repeats the process, but with 15 drivers and in 15 minutes.

The top 10 in Q2 progress to Q3, where they battle for pole position in a 12-minute shootout session. The fastest time earns the pole and will start the race on Sunday in the first place. Second, through 10th place are determined by the next-fastest laps.

For the 2022 season, drivers will have a free choice of which tires they can use to start the race. They no longer have to stick with the compound they use in Q3.

Qualifying during a Sprint weekend alters the structure. The session takes place Friday afternoon, replacing FP2. Those results determine the grid for the Sprint, where the drivers will race Saturday afternoon for their grid slot for the main event on Sunday.

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