Autocar’s 2023 motorsport review | Autocar Car News

Carlos Sainz Jr ended the consecutive run, and what had looked like a possible unbeaten Invincibles’ season for Red Bull, with a beautifully judged win in Singapore. Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, batted away talk of retirement to show he’s still got a record eighth world title in him – as long as his team can rediscover its mojo.

The 38-year-old comprehensively outperformed team-mate George Russell, too, even if he was to blame for their awkward Turn 1 collision in Qatar. But the most surprising and impressive narrative arc of the season had to be McLaren’s, which started the season by admitting how slow it would be. So it proved, technical director James Key paying the price as he headed back from whence he came to Sauber-Alfa Romeo.

But under the steady hand of new team principal Andrea Stella, McLaren pulled off a mid-season Lazarus act, following a significant aerodynamic upgrade introduced at the Austrian GP.

Lando Norris and accomplished rookie Oscar Piastri leading Verstappen at the British GP (before bowing to the inevitable) was no flash in the pan. Norris displayed his A-list credentials throughout, while Piastri scored a sprint race win in Qatar as McLaren bounded past Aston Martin to re-establish itself as Fl’s fourth-best team. 

World Rally Championship

World champion: Kalle Rovanpera, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT – The WRC is at his mercy–for as long as he remains motivated to rack up more titles 

Kalle Rovanpera took some time to find his groove in 2023. The previous season, the Finn won six times at just 22 years old to become by far the WRC’s youngest champion.

But this time he was finding himself overshadowed by Toyota team-mate and eight-time champion Sébastien Ogier, despite the 38-year-old insisting on rallying only part-time.

Still, with Ogier resisting a bid to equal Sébastien Loeb’s record of nine titles, it always felt only a matter of time before Rovanperä found his rhythm – as he did with his first win of the season, in Portugal, the fifth round of the series. He never relinquished top spot, even it he added only two more victories.

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This notice was published: 2023-12-30 07:01:45

By Auto Car

Coach is a weekly British motoring magazine published by Haymarket Media Group. First published in 1895, it bills itself as "the world's oldest automotive magazine."

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