Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez heads into his third year with Red Bull on the back of his best season yet.

Two wins and 11 podiums put Perez third in the final drivers’ championship, narrowly missing out on the runners up spot to Charles Leclerc at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

F1 2023 driver line-up - who will underachieve?

Perez has proven to be a dependable number two, particularly in 2022, when Red Bull’s overweight RB18 seemed to suit his driving style.

Once Red Bull reduced the weight and cured the inherent understeer problem, Perez went backwards, struggling to even get within 0.5s of Max Verstappen in the mid-part of the year.

Things did get better for Perez at the close of the season, putting in a stellar drive to win in Singapore ahead of Leclerc.

With Ferrari and Mercedes likely closing in on Red Bull, Perez can’t afford to be over three-tenths behind his teammate.

During his days with Sauber and Force India, he was renowned for his tyre preservation and race pace - something we haven’t really seen during his first two years with Red Bull.

Given that Perez is driving for one of the top teams, he’s always going to be under immense pressure, perhaps even more so due to the recent signing of Daniel Ricciardo.

Yuki Tsunoda

It’s now or never for Yuki Tsunoda and his career in F1.

With Pierre Gasly leaving the team, Tsunoda is now AlphaTauri’s most experienced driver, even though he’s five years younger than new teammate Nyck de Vries.

While Tsunoda made progress in his sophomore season, he’s been one of Red Bull’s more underwhelming F1 juniors over the past decade.

His progress was masked by a poor AlphaTauri car in 2022, although an unmotivated Pierre Gasly, who will race for Alpine in 2023, might have clouded the picture.

Tsunoda has been fortunate that Red Bull haven’t had too many impressive youngsters come through the ranks in F2 or F3.

It’s time for Tsunoda to step up or his future with the team could be under threat for 2024.

Zhou Guanyu

Zhou Guanyu surprised in his rookie year, performing solidly alongside 10-time grand prix winner Valtteri Bottas.

Unfortunately for Zhou by the time he got up to speed in F1, Alfa Romeo had slipped right down the pecking order meaning he wasn’t able to capitalise on their early season form.

Zhou proved to be a solid pair of hands, rarely making mistakes and often excelling in tricky conditions.

All in all it was a respectable first season from Zhou in F1, performing beyond many fans and pundits’ expectations.

To remain in F1 long term, Zhou will need to make a further step in performance.

Whenever the car was at its best at the tail end of the year it was Bottas rather than Zhou making Q3 and picking up the odd point.

Surprising? Not at all, but if Zhou wants to remain with Alfa then he will need to continue to get better.

As time goes on, Audi will be wanting to put their own driver in the team - Mick Schumacher? Or a bigger name as they prepare for 2026.

Oscar Piastri

Rookies are always under pressure when they make their F1 debuts, but more so with Oscar Piastri.

There was so much drama and controversy over his arrival into F1 as McLaren and Alpine battled it out for his services.

If two teams are willing to go to court it must mean that you’re worth the potential cost it would take.

Piastri is incredibly talented, evidenced by his back-to-back F3 and F2 titles.

However, he’s up against one of the best drivers on the grid in Lando Norris.

Norris’ domination of Ricciardo over the last two years was nothing short of astonishing. 

Yes, Ricciardo did have his own troubles but Norris’ remarkable consistency and level of performance was up there with the likes of Verstappen, Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton over the past two years.

Logan Sargeant

Logan Sargeant becomes the first American to race in F1 full-time since Scott Speed in 2006.

That alone brings its own pressure as America’s F1 audience grows exponentially.

Sargeant only finished fourth in the F2 standings, a distant 117 points behind eventual champion Felipe Drugovich.

While there is pressure, Sargeant simply needs to be an upgrade on his predecessor Nicholas Latifi, who struggled immensely in his final year with Williams.