As we enter the final stages of the 2023 Formula 1 season, the cars and teams look to make their final updates to secure position, and even to plan ahead for next season. Round 19 saw action return to the US for the race at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, TX, and this Sprint race weekend brought plenty of drama both on the track, and off it. We saw competitive racing out front thanks to a revitalized Mercedes car running a new floor, a strong presence from McLaren, and of course the ever present Red Bull leading the pack. The final result was anything but predictable this week, with a determined Lew Hamilton chasing down Max Verstappen, though his bid for victory ultimately fell just a few seconds short. Ultimately, it wouldn’t have mattered as the Mercedes driver (along with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc) was handed a DSQ thanks to a floor plank being out of spec after the race.
Regardless of the DSQs handed out, the racing itself was some of the most competitive we’ve seen all season, and hopefully bodes well not only for the rest of the season, but for the entirety of next season as well. The new floor Mercedes was testing out should offer us our first glimpse at what we might be able to expect from their entirely new concept going into next year. What is less clear is the advancements we might yet see from Red Bull looking to maintain their dominant advantage. All we’re hoping for is more consistent fighting out at the front of the pack, whether its from Mercedes, McLaren, or someone else.