Ahead of Drive To Survive Season 5, a look at the watches of F1D.C. Hannay
The new season of Netflix’s Drive To Survive drops on February 24 (just in time for pre-season testing in Bahrain), and we can’t wait. And now’s the perfect time for a look at the watches of F1 to check out all the watch brand sponsors and their respective teams. Will we get some tasty new models for the 2023 season? Almost definitely, but until then, let’s have a look at the current watch standings, and a peek at all the new cars for ’23.
Ferrari – Richard Mille
Richard Mille is back with the Prancing Horse for the 2023 season, and you’ll see plenty of the brand adorning the wrists of drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz. Ferrari is a team to reckon with, and minus any technical disasters, they have a good chance to bring the fight to Red Bull.
As high-tech as the cars themselves, Mille’s insanely thin RM UP-01 Ferrari set a new standard for low-profile, high-end timepieces, at a mind-boggling 1.75mm thick. It’s the horological equivalent of wearing an American Express Black card on your wrist. This manually wound titanium flex is currently the world’s thinnest mechanical watch, and you’ll need a bit of flex in your spending account to pony up the US$1.888 million asking price.
Red Bull – TAG Heuer
Returning champ Max Verstappen and teammate Sergio Perez, along with reserve driver Daniel Ricciardo, will be sure to rep the brand with an assortment of TAG Heuer’s special editions.
Those include Max’s blacked-out Monaco and Checo’s one-of-one Carrera Tourbillon, but fans can also show their team spirit with the Formula 1 X Red Bull Racing, the blue and red version of the popular 43mm quartz chrono. It happens to be not only a race-ready chronograph, but a robust one with 200 metres of water resistance, perfect for the many podium champagne showers that I’m sure will come.
Mercedes – IWC
After a frustrating 2022 season, Mercedes looks to return to their winning ways for 2023, but time will tell if Lewis Hamilton and George Russell’s W14 cars have the mojo to make it happen. Pray that they leave the porpoising to wildlife programs.
One thing’s for certain, they’ll have plenty of IWC wrist candy to enjoy, including the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 edition with its uber-cool, blue-green dial markings. And if a 41mm chrono is too low-key for photo ops, there’s always a Ceratanium Big Pilot’s Perpetual Calendar in the team colours as a backup. Just don’t try and borrow team principal Toto Wolff’s skeletonised special edition, because I doubt he’d be amused.
Aston Martin – Girard-Perregaux
With the retirement of Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin looks to turn things around with veteran Fernando Alonso joining teammate Lance Stroll for the 2023 season. The new AMR23 car has been characterised as “aggressive”, so hopefully it lives up to the hype.
At any rate, the new teammates can rest assured knowing they have one of the most badass timepieces in the paddock, the Girard-Perregaux Laureato Absolute chronograph in the Aston Martin signature green colourway. This 44mm beast is constructed of race-ready carbon-titanium alloy, and frankly, it just looks fast, even standing still.
Williams – Bremont
Williams has been in a perpetual rebuilding phase for the last several seasons, but with some major shakeups, the team is looking to improve their fortunes for ‘23. Those changes include the addition of young American pilot Logan Sargeant joining Alex Albon behind the wheel, as well as a new team principal (late of Mercedes) in James Vowles.
No matter how the season plays out, the Williams team has some of the most handsome wrist gear on the circuit, with some choice models from British watchmaker Bremont. The WR-22 chrono is classically gorgeous, with fine fit and finish and an understated look. And if you’re feeling a bit extra, go for the limited boxed set that includes both the black-cased FW44 Chrono and the blue-dialled FW44 Classic.
McLaren – Richard Mille
McLaren underwent a seismic shakeup last season, with the ousting of Daniel Ricciardo and the onboarding of another young Aussie, F1 rookie Oscar Piastri. What’s unchanged for ‘23, however, is that Lando Norris is back, and so is Richard Mille.
Personally, I think the McLaren models are some of Mille’s most attractive offerings, including the current RM50-03, the Tourbillon Split-Seconds Chronograph McLaren F1. The signature tonneau case shape and titanium/carbon/graphene construction contribute to a hyperlight design weighing a feathery 40 grams, including strap. An in-house manual tourbillon chrono movement further cements this exotic timepiece’s racing bona fides.
Alpine – Bell & Ross
Although I’ll miss the off-track antics of Pierre Gasly and super-BFF (and ex-AlphaTauri teammate) Yuki Tsunoda, it’s clear that Gasly needed a change of scenery. After some real flashes of brilliance with both AlphaTauri and Red Bull, here’s hoping he’ll score more consistent results now that he’s replaced veteran Fernando Alonso on Alpine’s team. He joins countryman Esteban Ocon for 2023, and with any luck, the newly revealed A523 car will be a showcase for both of their prodigious talents.
Alpine’s long standing watch partner, Bell & Ross, hasn’t revealed a new team model for the 2023 season, but their last Alpine release was the attractive BR 03-92 A522, a limited-edition black ceramic iteration of their squared-off Instrument series. A simpler 42mm time and date model than some of their more complex skeletonised chrono editions, it looks the business with its racy blue accents, including a signature Alpine counterweight on the seconds hand.
Sauber/Alfa Romeo – Rebellion
Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas was used to podium finishes when he drove for Mercedes, but his fortunes have waned since jumping aboard for Alfa Romeo. Along with second driver, China’s Zhou Guanyu, they’re hoping to turn things around for ‘23. If nothing else, expect more epic mullet moments (and perhaps a few skinny-dipping Insta posts), and it’ll be interesting to see where he goes next year, since this is Alfa’s final F1 season.
Alfa Romeo’s watch partner is motorsport-leaning Rebellion Watches, a Swiss brand that specialises in technical-looking models constructed from exotic materials. There’s a Mille-esque vibe to many of their pieces, including Bottas’ signature C42, a skeletonised number constructed of layered carbon, which features a fragment of the actual F1 car’s bodywork.
Scuderia AlphaTauri – No one (Casio Edifice)
Red Bull corporate sibling AlphaTauri is in a rebuilding year, with Dutch pilot (and Formula E champ) Nyck de Vries joining teammate Yuki Tsunoda, in hopes of improvement for ‘23. AlphaTauri is currently without a watch sponsor, having parted ways with Casio Edifice at the end of last season.
Edifice is known for big, tech-heavy quartz chronos that offer features like Bluetooth phone connectivity, so it’ll be interesting to see if anyone steps up to get their name on the team’s AT04 car in time for the new season.
Haas – No one (Cyrus)
Haas has had a turbulent couple of years, but with the Nikita Mazepin kerfuffle soundly in the rear view mirror, here’s hoping that Kevin Magnussen keeps improving upon some of his surprising results of last season. In any event, things should be interesting, since Mick Schumacher has gone on to a reserve position at Mercedes, and his vacancy has been filled by Magnussen’s sometimes-frenemy Nico Hulkenberg. If anything, the fireworks between the two talented drivers should be riveting, to say the least.
Haas is also without a corporate watch sponsor, with Swiss independent brand Cyrus no longer on board. The brand specialises in high-end, skeletonised timepieces, such as the Klepcys Vertical Tourbillon that Schumacher wore during his tenure. Perhaps Haas will bring another brand along this season to outfit the team, but only time will tell.