Red Bull Racing swept away any competition in the 2023 World Constructors' Championship, rarely putting a foot wrong on their way to their sixth triumph in Formula One. However, the domination from the Anglo-Austrian outfit masked a wildly competitive season between the other teams, with the Singapore Grand Prix offering a rare peek at what a year without Red Bull would feel like.
Mercedes, Ferrari, and McLaren dueled it out for the win that night at the Marina Bay Circuit. These three teams, plus Aston Martin's early charge in the season's opening rounds, have kept much-needed unpredictability in the sport at a time when Max Verstappen's triumphs seem so inevitable. At any grand prix, there'd be no telling what overalls the non-Red Bull driver or drivers reaching the podium would be wearing — a rarity in recent years.
The intense fighting continues even as Formula One heads to its final throes of the 2023 season with both championships effectively wrapped up. Ferrari, the only other team to win in 2023, are looking to steal the vice-champion title from Mercedes. Meanwhile, the quick-starting Aston Martin team have a resurgent McLaren rapidly closing in on their place in the championship as the countdown to F1's Abu Dhabi finale continues.
The championship's bottom half is equally as fascinating, with Alpine in no man's land, sitting far behind the top five but miles ahead of the lower midfield. And I deliberately say 'lower midfield' because there isn't a single backmarker team in 2023. Williams has Alex Albon to thank for their current P7 position, but there's not much to choose between the Grove-based team and Haas, Alfa Romeo, or AlphaTauri. The lower ranks aren't where we're focusing today, but their tight placement in the standings shows how close F1's class of 2023 is.
Barring a 2007 McLaren Spygate-esque scandal that I can't imagine anyone attempting in the modern era, Red Bull are the 2023 champions. For all the complaints some fans had about the years of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton being on top, Red Bull and Verstappen are peerless on a higher level.
The might of the RB19 has Sergio Perez set to take P2 in the championship despite the Mexican's lame-duck season, further highlighting the car's supremacy. If a driver can have a disappointing season and still beat everyone else's efforts, that's firmly thanks to the phenomenal creation that they drive. The RB19 is one of the best ever. With that out of the way, here's my top constructors' order prediction after Red Bull.
P2 - Mercedes
Image: Mercedes AMG F1
They may not have succeeded in snatching a P1 finish from Red Bull (yet) as they had in 2022, but Mercedes are still operating close to their recent peaks. Lewis Hamilton and George Russell are driving a car neither driver likes, yet they have consistently picked up points across 2023.
In fact, Hamilton is the only driver, aside from Verstappen, to boast a top-10 finish at every round this year. That's thanks to the team's approach of making the most of what they have, whether or not the cockpit is too far forward or whatever other complaints the Brackley engineers are dealing with.
P3 - Ferrari
Image: Scuderia Ferrari
It's not Frederic Vasseur's Ferrari yet, and the strategic blunders remain. Yet the Scuderia have shown the best non-Red Bull single-lap pace with three pole positions — and that all-important Carlos Sainz Singapore win. A sprinkling of DNFs, thanks to car damage, hamper their points tally, but so does the opening-round Bahrain engine failure that lost Charles Leclerc a P3 finish.
It's these incidents that Sainz, Leclerc, and the team need to shake off before they can hope to maintain a championship challenge in the future. There are signs of improvement, though, and they won't be far behind their great German rival when the season ends.
P4 - McLaren
The greatest 2023 points overhaul will come from McLaren reeling in Aston Martin over the remaining course of the year. McLaren were nowhere in the opening rounds, with rumors that Lando Norris punched a wall at pre-season testing suggesting the team knew their initial car was a dud.
Whether or not that accelerated the development of a B-spec isn't clear, but after Round 9 in Austria, McLaren were P6 in the constructors' standings with 29 points. Aston Martin, by comparison, were third with a 146-point advantage.
Then Silverstone came, and everything changed. Lando Norris led the race, and Oscar Piastri showed the world why so many thought highly of him. Five podium trips mean they're now at 172 points and rapidly closing in on the green team, and I favor them to best Aston by the season's end.
P5 - Aston Martin
Image: Aston Martin F1
If there was ever a case for needing two drivers to maximize everything from a car, Aston Martin's 2023 season is possibly the perfect example. Fernando Alonso has swept the floor with Lance Stroll this year to such an extent that I now expect one AMR23 to feature in Q3 while the other exits in Q1.
The two-time champion is proving his worth at Aston Martin, taking seven podium finishes for his team while Stroll battles with Alpine, Alfa Romeo, and Haas cars. Sadly for the Silverstone-based squad, whatever magic they found in the off-season to mightily launch Alonso into the season is wearing off.
I don't see them having the power to stop McLaren from getting the better of them unless they enter 2023's latter stages with two competitive drivers. Stroll's qualifying crash in Singapore and DNF in Japan tells me that's unlikely.