F1 returns at Dutch GP: What's still to come and what's at stake in second part of 2023 season (2023)

A jam-packed global run-in, racing on the streets of Las Vegas, unique pieces of history on the line, and the final calls in the driver market; Watch the first race after the summer break this weekend on Sky Sports F1, with Sunday's Dutch GP starting at 2pm

By James Galloway

Last Updated: 21/08/23 1:05pm

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F1 returns at Dutch GP: What's still to come and what's at stake in second part of 2023 season (2)

The Formula 1 season is back for more drama at the Dutch Grand Prix on Sunday 27th August.

What races are left?

Ten races in 14 weeks.

That's the busy schedule that will take Formula 1's stars and cars through the final three months of the 2023 season when action resumes for the first time in nearly four weeks at Zandvoort on Friday.

With the closing weeks of the European season and the return of the longer-haul flyaways, the back-end of a Formula 1 season offers plenty of intrigue and the run-in to the end of this particular campaign is especially busy.

The headlines for the remaining events include:

  • Races on four continents and in nine different countries
  • The first-ever Las Vegas Grand Prix
  • Three double-headers and one triple-header
  • Two street tracks
  • Three sprint weekends
  • Early-morning and primetime evening UK race starts

So when is the Las Vegas GP?

Lewis Hamilton, Sergio Perez and George Russell put on a dazzling demonstration run for the Las Vegas Grand Prix launch party

Ah yes, Vegas.

Possibly the most-anticipated new event of all-time in the sport will see F1's stars and cars taking to the world-famous Las Vegas Strip on November 17-19.

On a 14-corner track specially designed to run past such famous landmarks such as Caesars Palace and the Bellagio, the race will run under floodlights on Saturday evening in the States - with the action live at 6am on the Sunday morning for UK viewers on Sky Sports F1.

F1 has raced in Las Vegas before, back in 1981-82, but this is an altogether bigger deal with the sport's increased popularity in the States underlined by what's likely to be an incredibly glitzy and star-studded occasion in one of the most famous places on Earth.

The races left live on Sky Sports F1 in 2023

Date Grand Prix UK race start time
August 25-27 Dutch GP 2pm
September 1-3 Italian GP 2pm
September 15-17 Singapore GP 1pm
September 22-24 Japanese GP 6am
October 6-8 Qatar GP* 6pm
October 20-22 United States GP* 8pm
October 27-29 Mexico City GP 8pm
November 3-5 Sao Paulo GP* 5pm
November 17-19 Las Vegas GP 6am
November 24-26 Abu Dhabi GP 1pm
*Sprint weekend

How soon could Verstappen clinch the title?

F1 returns at Dutch GP: What's still to come and what's at stake in second part of 2023 season (5)

An astonishing 125 points clear of second place in the world championship as the season resumes and on a run of eight consecutive race victories, there's surely no doubting already where this year's crown is headed - Max Verstappen, for the third year running.

His monster points advantage is the equivalent of five race wins (and you can make that six over the first non-Red Bull driver in the championship).

The more realistic question then perhaps is just how soon could the Dutchman mathematically wrap up his third title?

  • Who is where? The latest F1 championship standings

Naturally, it depends on the points head-to-heads against team-mate Sergio Perez, and the other remaining mathematical chasers, in the forthcoming rounds but an earlier coronation than even last year (four rounds to go) appears achievable.

The earliest Verstappen could wrap up the crown would theoretically be at the Japanese GP in four races' time on September 24. But that would require him to hold an advantage of at least 180 points over the pack, which is probably pushing it barring a string of difficult point-less weekends for all of his nearest challengers in the next races (Zandvoort, Monza and Singapore).

It's therefore more conceivable that Verstappen will clinch the crown at the following round in Qatar on October 6-8, a sprint weekend where he'd need to hold an advantage of 146 points by the end of the Sunday to retain his title.

Can any rival, or anything, stop Red Bull from going unbeaten?

F1 returns at Dutch GP: What's still to come and what's at stake in second part of 2023 season (6)

Red Bull's 12/12 Sunday scorecard to this point of the season has raised the spectre of them achieving an invincible campaign of race wins, a feat never achieved in F1's 64-year history.

It was McLaren who famously got closest in 1988, during their golden Ayrton Senna-Alain Prost era. They only missed out by one victory thanks to that year's Italian GP at Monza, when race leader Senna and backmarker Jean-Louis Schlesser collided.

There were only 16 races on the calendar back then, so the Red Bull team of 2023 would have to navigate six further rounds still unbeaten were they to set a unique record at the end of the Abu Dhabi GP on November 26.

The relentless form of Verstappen in particular - he has won every race since the start of May and 10 in total - has certainly added strength to the growing 'will they, won't they' debate.

Who has gone closest to a perfect season?

Team Year Win ratio (wins/races)
McLaren 1988 93.8% (15/16)
Mercedes 2016 90.5% (19/21)
Ferrari 2002 88.2% (15/17)
Ferrari 1952 87.5% (7/8)

In addition to the car's speed and track-to-track versatility is its reliability record: Verstappen is on a finishing streak of 31 races stretching back to April 2022.

But 10 races remains a long way to navigate without fault, even for dominant F1 cars and drivers, and so Red Bull understandably remain wary about talk of this record.

To preserve the run they may well also need Sergio Perez to also rediscover more consistent form. Although taking two fine early wins himself, Perez has only finished second to Verstappen on three of the 10 occasions the Dutchman has won this season. That's only one more second place than Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton - which does offer at least a window of hope for the chasing pack if Verstappen or his RB19 were to stumble.

All teams will be turning, or have already turned, off their car development on 2023 but there will still be packages of updates through the grid for the next races, which could narrow the gap at the front.

With Aston Martin, Ferrari, Mercedes and McLaren all having their moments this season, we'll also start to find out whether one single consistent challenger to Red Bull emerges over the closing rounds heading towards 2024.

When will Hamilton's contract be signed?

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F1 returns at Dutch GP: What's still to come and what's at stake in second part of 2023 season (8)

Despite being 38, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff believes Lewis Hamilton could be in the sport for at least another four years

There doesn't seem any doubt that Lewis Hamilton will still be on the grid beyond this season at Mercedes, but the wait remains for their latest deal to be finally signed, sealed and announced.

Back at the start of July, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said that "we're not talking anything anymore about duration, money, all of that, it's other topics", suggesting that it was only minor points left to iron out.

While holidays would have taken up time for the respective parties and representatives over the past month, the pause in the racing may still have allowed some of those final i's to be dotted and t's crossed.

And what about the rest of the '24 market?

F1 returns at Dutch GP: What's still to come and what's at stake in second part of 2023 season (9)

Six other seats remain open on next season's grid, although it appears unlikely there will be much movement there either.

Haas and AlphaTauri have neither of their respective drivers confirmed for 2024, although the incumbents at each (Nico Hulkenberg/Kevin Magnussen and Yuki Tsunoda/Daniel Ricciardo) are certainly the likely ones to fill them. AlphaTauri of course only recently made a change with Nyck de Vries dropped in favour of Ricciardo for at least the remainder of this season.

Alfa Romeo look set to hand a new deal to Zhou Guanyu, while Williams have a decision to make about a second season for Logan Sargeant.

Will there be more cost-cap controversy?

F1 returns at Dutch GP: What's still to come and what's at stake in second part of 2023 season (10)

It was the story that dominated much of the second half of last season, so what chance of more rumblings and rows once the FIA reveals teams' certified cost-cap submissions for the 2022 season?

The first round of rumours about the latest set of reports surfaced from the German and Italian press recently, but the FIA was quick to stamp down on that speculation by labelling any claims at this stage "factually wrong" with the auditing process not complete.

Also See:

There is no timeframe on when that process will be concluded, but that's unlikely to stop any further speculation over forthcoming weeks. For reference, the report for 2021 was published last October, when Red Bull were found in 'minor' breach and later handed a $7m fine and restrictions on car development time.

Formula 1 returns after the summer break with the Dutch GP and all sessions will be live on Sky Sports F1 from this Friday. Stream F1 on Sky Sports with NOW for just £26 a month for 12 months. Cancel anytime

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