F1 Fantasy: top picks and predictions for the 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix


Driver and constructor F1 Fantasy picks for the 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, including some tips on who to avoid, which chips to play and the best team names

2022 Saudi Arabain Grand Prix start

Leclerc made good his escape at the start, leaving Verstappen to manage rising brake temperatures behind

As one of the newest additions to the F1 calendar, the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix has quickly earned a reputation for producing some of the most dramatic on-track action, as well as providing an opportunity for F1 Fantasy fans to score big points’

Last year’s event saw an epic battle for the lead between Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc, with the Red Bull emerging as the victor – Carlos Sainz and Sergio Perez left squabbling for third.

This time around, the running may not be as close, with Red Bull setting itself apart from the rest of the field with a dominant 1-2 finish in Bahrain, followed closely by a rejuvenated Fernando Alonso who claimed his 99th career podium on his debut drive for Aston Martin.

That result has already seen the F1 Fantasy values of both teams and the three podium-finishers rise in value — but only fractionally. As of now, it is still possible to fit all four Red Bull and Aston Martin drivers into your lineup, theoretically giving you the chance to score big points off of the four fastest cars on the grid. That’s Verstappen, Perez, Alonso and Stroll all in your fantasy team for just $61.2m – enough left over for a great midfield contender as well as two top constructors. Maybe it’s time to play that wildcard?

But the fast and punishing nature of the Jeddah circuit still has the potential to mix up the running order, giving F1 Fantasy players a chance reap the rewards from bold selections, play their first chips and get to grips with F1 Fantasy’s new rules.

FP3 has now been completed, with Verstappen leading Perez, and Alonso – the three drivers sharing the top spots in every practice session. If you have not confirmed your lineup ahead of qualifying at 5pm GMT, make sure you include at least two of these drivers who are set to compete for pole position! Lance Stroll finished fourth, and at $7.6m he could be a cheap option that could turn out to be a valuable surprise – only 0.03s adrift from his teammate.

Players get two free transfers ahead of each grand prix, so here’s who else you should consider.

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Main contenders

Driver Reason
Max Verstappen
$27.0m Max Verstappen head portrait
Max Verstappen waltzed to a comfortable victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix, also capturing pole position, earning a 35 point haul – only missing out on a Driver of the Day award to Fernando Alonso. So it should be no surprise that he’s top of the main contenders list for round two. Despite his dominance, his F1 Fantasy value (already the highest on the grid) has only risen by $0.1m.

Paired with the RB19, a car which is seemingly much more advanced than the rest of the field, Verstappen looks likely to extend his advantage in Saudi Arabia – a track on which he has seen unrivalled success.

Second in 2021 and first in 2022, the Dutchman should be in contention for pole position and the race win, his closest rival being team-mate Sergio Perez. To make the most of his form, we’d recommend applying the DRS boost to Verstappen this weekend to double his points. Unlike last year, you can use the chip on any driver, with no cost restriction.

Sergio Perez 
$18.1m Perez
Capturing a surprise pole position at the 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Sergio Perez will certainly be in the mix for victory once again in 2023, meaning a solid points haul is likely for those adding him to their F1 Fantasy lineup.

Although bad luck kept Perez from a podium finish in 2022, the RB19’s current superiority in both pace and tyre degradation means a podium finish is highly likely if he finishes – Perez having had little trouble in besting Charles Leclerc to second during the F1 season opener in Bahrain.

At $18.1m (up by $0.1m from the start of the season), Perez proves to be an economical second-best option to Verstappen for players who are looking to diversify their driver line-up and spend more money elsewhere, but having both Red Bull drivers could prove to be worth the eye-watering price tag.

Fernando Alonso
$8.5m Alonso
Fernando Alonso proved his worth in Bahrain as the best ‘bang-for-buck’ option the grid has to offer – capturing the highest points tally (39) with his 99th career podium, all for just $8.3m.

Picked by 78% of all F1 Fantasy players, Alonso’s consistency and seasoned race craft is a welcome addition to any driver lineup, but with Aston Martin now competing at the front of the field, there is potential for even more big point hauls. His price has now gone up to $8.5m but if his form continues, that’s still a bargain.

With superior race pace to Mercedes, Alonso could once again be in contention for a podium finish in Saudi Arabia, with the potential to rack up overtaking points if he starts behind the Mercedes and Ferrari of Carlos Sainz. Whilst you can choose between Verstappen or Perez, having Alonso in your lineup is a must!

Ones to watch

Driver Reason
Charles Leclerc 
Charles Leclerc was running a comfortable third in Bahrain before an engine failure forced him to retire shortly before the chequered flag – a disastrous start to his own 2023 F1 title bid and costing F1 Fantasy players 11 points.

His season doesn’t appear to be getting any better, as replacing the faulty engine electronics has incurred a grid penalty that will prevent Leclerc starting higher than 11th in Saudi Arabia.

Conversely, this could be a prime opportunity for a strong f1 Fantasy points score. Leclerc’s Bahrain woes saw his value drop, so he’s now cheaper — but only by $0.1m and his situation gives him plenty of points-scoring chances.

Ferrari showed strong qualifying pace in Bahrain, and as Fantasy points are awarded on the qualifying result, Leclerc would pick up a useful eight points for being third-fastest again. In that situation, a grid penalty would drop him to 13th, where you could realistically expect plenty of points for overtakes and positions gained during the race.

Even if he started further back, with fewer qualifying points, the opportunity is there for Leclerc. to be one of the big point scorers in Jeddah.

Pierre Gasly
$8.2m Pierre Gasly portrait
Pierre Gasly showed masterful racecraft during his debut for Alpine at the Bahrain Grand Prix, starting last before rising through the grid to finish ninth and earning 20 F1 Fantasy points – 11 coming from overtakes. Aside from the podium-finishers, he’s the only other driver to increase in value (by $0.1m).

Despite finishing fourth in the constructors’ standings last year, Alpine had a problematic time during pre-season testing and are currently sat as the sixth fastest team on the grid. But with race pace an obvious strong point, Gasly could be a thrifty choice to take advantage of the new points system which rewards both overtakes and positions gained.

Lance Stroll 
$7.6m Lance Stroll portrait
In a true show of grit and determination, Lance Stroll rebounded from a pre-season injury to take sixth at the Bahrain GP – becoming the sixth highest scoring driver on F1 Fantasy.

Known for his consistency, Stroll now has the opportunity to be a regular contender for podium finishes with Aston Martin seemingly the second-quickest team on the grid. At $7.6 million, Stroll is another cheap option that could allow players to pick up more expensive drivers as a result, whilst scoring good points of his own.

Who knows, a surprise debut victory may even be on the cards?


Drivers to avoid

As of now, McLaren are arguably the slowest and most unreliable team on the grid, with Oscar Piastri retiring just 13 laps into his F1 debut, and Lando Norris forced to trail around the track in last managing a hydraulic issue. As a result, both drivers lost a combined 17 F1 Fantasy points and are a worthy exclusion from any driver lineup.

At a costly $11.1m, it’s probably best to get rid of Norris while his value remains high — it has already dropped by $0.1m. A repeat of last season’s surprise podium in Imola currently looks highly unlikely – and F1 Fantasy players may be more tempted by the likes of Bottas and Stroll, who look set to be regular points finishers and are available for under $8m. Piastri could be seen as an investment, a cheap $6.9m option to help finish a lineup, but more experienced drivers such as Nico Hülkenberg and Alex Albon are available for less.

In similar fashion, Mercedes has also gone backwards, despite hopes that Lewis Hamilton and George Russell would compete at the front of the field in 2023. Whilst Hamilton still managed a fifth place finish in Bahrain, the team has noticeably slower race pace than both Ferrari and Aston Martin, putting it on the back foot heading into Saudi Arabia. Mercedes is still scrambling to make its unique sidepod design work, and on a track where aerodynamics is key, both Hamilton and Russell could be severely punished.

$23.7m for Hamilton, $18.6m for Russell and an eye-watering $25.1m for Mercedes – your money is much better off in a more consistent pocket. For $16.4m less, you could have both Red Bull drivers and Aston Martin as one of your constructors!

Of course, the situation is likely to change over the  course of a 23-race-season but, as of now, there are better options elsewhere.



With an air of uncertainty lingering around the Bahrain Grand Prix, most players should have refrained from activating one of the six chips that are available over the course of the season. But now with a rough running order set, there are some chips that could give you an early season advantage.

Extra DRS Boost With the RB19 seemingly well ahead of the competition and Verstappen setting a dominant tone for the season, an extra DRS boost could bring in a significant points haul. If Verstappen were to capture pole position and the race win, a feat well within his reach, you could score over 105 points with this chip activated – with extra points for Driver of the Day and fastest lap still available. However, you may be better off waiting until a sprint race weekend when more points are available.

Wildcard If you have been stung by a particularly bad start, picking the likes of Esteban Ocon or McLaren, the wildcard could get your season back on track – allowing you to make an unlimited amount of changes whilst staying under the cost cap.

Right now, it’s possible to afford a dream driver lineup composed of Verstappen, Perez, Alonso and Stroll, with money left over for another top midfield contender such as Gasly or Valtteri Bottas. With Mercedes struggling, you could also pick up Ferrari and Aston Martin as your constructors!


2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix: Who we’re picking

We didn’t put Max Verstappen in our team for Bahrain, which makes it difficult to shoehorn him in — at a price of $27m — for Jeddah without playing our Wildcard.

In light of its slow start to the 2023 campaign, we’ve chosen to remove both Lando Norris and Mercedes in favour of solid point scorers. Lance Stroll joins the team for just $7.6m ($3.5m less than Norris) and Ferrari replaces Mercedes as one of our favoured constructors.

Click here to see our picks for 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix.

Charles Leclerc – $21.1m
Sergio Perez – $18.1m
Fernando Alonso – $8.5m
Lance Stroll – $7.6m
Valtteri Bottas – $7.8m

Ferrari – $22.1m
Aston Martin – $6.8m

Total spent * – $92m
Current points total – 208

*Some driver values have since changed as a result of their performances

Best F1 Fantasy team names

Deciding who to spend your $100m F1 budget on is a difficult task already, so here’s a few recommendations on some F1 team names to fully complete your squad:

  • The Day After Ricciardo
  • Fernando’s Piri Piri
  • Smooth Operator
  • Sainz, Sealed, Delivered
  • Aston Martini, Shaken Not Stirred
  • Red Bullship
  • Hulkenbergkamp
  • You Wanna Piastri Me?
  • Alonsolar Power
  • In the Nico Time