Here at SB Nation, we are all about accountability.
The life of being a sportswriter has its share of ups and downs. Some of the ups? You get to watch sports for a living! You get to work with some incredible people and interview fascinating athletes like Lando Norris, Valtteri Bottas, and Oscar Piastri.
You make mistakes, a lot of them.
And that ignores the almost daily existential crises that comes with being a writer in the digital era, but that is a discussion for another time …
However, even when mistakes are made, the honorable thing to do is to own up to the errors, learn from them, and try to be better the next time you go out there.
To that end, it is time to look back at my pre-season predictions for the 2023 Formula 1 campaign. As this was my first full season covering the sport, I am allowing myself a bit of leeway here.
But that will not be the case next year.
For reference, here is the piece written last March, before everything got underway.
What team finishes last?
And we start with a miss right out of the gate.
Here is what I wrote last March, in part:
There are reasons for optimism around Williams this year. Finishing tenth in the Constructors’ Championship a season ago afforded them more time in the wind tunnel, giving them a chance to level the playing field through car development. They also looked strong during pre-season testing, with driver Alex Albon conceding “we’re not in a bad place” when chatting with F1TV.
Still, the team is relying on a rookie driver in Logan Sargeant, and has some catching up to do. It might be a stronger year for Williams, and they may very well be on the path back, but a wooden spoon looks likely in their future.
In fairness, I did get some of this right. After all, Sargeant did get out to a slower start as a rookie, securing just a single point during his debut campaign. However, Albon single-handedly brought Williams to a seventh-place finish, scoring a strong 27 points on the season.
That alone put him ahead of AlphaTauri (25 points), Alfa Romeo (16 points), and the team that actually finished in last, Haas and their 12 points on the year.
What driver has the most overtakes?
Prediction: Fernando Alonso
Result: Oscar Piastri/Sergio Pérez
Two categories, two misses.
As I noted back in March, this is a tricky category to predict. You need to find the right combination of a strong car, a good driver, but someone who will not be starting every race right at the front, giving them more opportunities for overtakes.
According to the official F1 Fantasy statistics, here is how the overtakes shook out last season. Alonso actually finished 12th, while Piastri and Pérez tied atop the list.
What team finishes fourth?
Prediction: Aston Martin
So we start out 0-for-3.
In fairness, for the longest time it looked like Aston Martin was going to finish fourth, if not higher, in the Constructors’ Championship. They got out to a very strong start and were actually in second early in the year. But as they started to fade, McLaren caught fire, eventually overtaking them in the standings for fourth.
Aston Martin had a chance in the season finale to still secure second, thanks to a down week for McLaren at the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix, but they could not pull off the comeback.
What team finishes second in the Constructors’ Championship?
Finally, a win.
Honestly, this came down to the final moments of the season. A valiant effort at strategy from Charles Leclerc fell short, and Ferrari finished just behind Mercedes.
As I noted on a recent episode of the Underground F1 podcast with my pals Casey and Owen, this was perhaps one of my favorite moments of the season. To see the growth and leadership from Leclerc, as he worked through the various permutations in real time to try and find a way for Ferrari to pass Mercedes, was a tremendous bit of sport.
It makes me really excited about Leclerc’s — and Ferrari’s — future.
Who wins the Drivers’ Championship?
Prediction: Max Verstappen
Result: Max Verstappen
Really hard to take a victory lap for such a chakly pick but … you take the wins when you can get them.
What team wins the Constructors’ Championship?
Prediction: Red Bull
Result: Red Bull
So there you have it. Three right, three wrong.
And a mark to try and surpass next season.
Source : SBNation