Red Bull wrapped up the Constructors’ Championship at the 2023 Japanese Grand Prix and now Max Verstappen has the chance to seal a third consecutive title at the 2023 Qatar Grand Prix. Here’s are the F1 title permutations for Qatar!
Header image: © Andrew Balfour
Max Verstappen has been unbeatable for most of the 2023 Formula 1 season. With six Grand Prix weekends remaining this year, Verstappen has won 13 of the 16 races held and has finished on the podium in all but one race. He now sits in a good position to claim a third consecutive title at the 2023 Qatar Grand Prix.
F1 title permutations: When can Verstappen win the title?
Max Verstappen can claim his third Drivers’ Championship victory at the 2023 Qatar Grand Prix, which will be the second Formula 1 event held at Lusail Circuit near Doha. Verstappen does not even have to wait until Sunday’s Grand Prix to be crowned champion. He could take the honours in Saturday’s Sprint race.
After his 2023 Japanese Grand Prix victory, Verstappen leads the championship by 177 points. It’s the largest points lead ever held in the Drivers’ Championship, breaking Sebastian Vettel’s record from the end of 2013. Verstappen’s nearest challenger is his team-mate Sergio Perez. Perez has 223 points compared to Verstappen’s 400.
How can Verstappen win the title in the Sprint at the 2023 Qatar Grand Prix?
There are a maximum of 180 points on offer at the six remaining races in 2023: 26 at the Mexico City, Las Vegas and Abu Dhabi Grands Prix and 34 at each of the three Sprint weekends remaining in Qatar, Texas and Sao Paulo. If Sergio Perez were to win every remaining Grand Prix and Sprint without Max Verstappen scoring any points, Perez would win the title by just three points.
That means that Verstappen needs to secure a minimum of three points in the Sprint should Perez win the Saturday race in order to be crowned champion ahead of Sunday’s Qatar Grand Prix. Perez must finish in the top three in the Sprint race to have any chance of stopping Verstappen winning the title on Saturday.
Here are the full F1 title permutations for the Sprint at the 2023 Qatar Grand Prix:
- If Perez wins the Sprint, Verstappen must finish at least 6th to be crowned World Champion
- If Perez finishes 2nd in the Sprint, Verstappen must finish at least 7th to be crowned World Champion
- If Perez finishes 3rd in the Sprint, Verstappen must finish at least 8th to be crowned World Champion
- If Perez finishes 4th or lower in the Sprint, Verstappen is World Champion
- If Verstappen finishes 6th or higher in the Sprint, he is World Champion
When was the last time the title was won on a Saturday?
The title has been decided on a Saturday on six occasions in the past. If Max Verstappen wins the title as a result of the Sprint at the 2023 Qatar Grand Prix, it would be the first time that the Drivers’ Championship has been decided on a day other than Sunday in 40 years. The last driver to win the title on a Saturday was Nelson Piquet at the 1983 South African Grand Prix.
You could argue that Piquet also won the title on a Saturday at the 1987 Japanese Grand Prix. Title rival Nigel Mansell withdrew from the race following an injury in qualifying and flew home on the Saturday, putting himself out of contention for the title win.
Drivers who won the Drivers’ Championship on a Saturday:
- Juan Manuel Fangio, 1955 British Grand Prix
- Jack Brabham, 1959 United States Grand Prix
- Graham Hill, 1962 South African Grand Prix
- Nelson Piquet, 1981 Caesars Palace Grand Prix
- Keke Rosberg, 1982 Caesars Palace Grand Prix
- Nelson Piquet, 1983 South African Grand Prix
- Nelson Piquet, 1987 Japanese Grand Prix* (see above)
What records will Verstappen break if he wins the 2023 F1 title?
If Max Verstappen wins the 2023 title in the Sprint race at the Qatar Grand Prix, he will become only the second driver to have already won the title with six Grands Prix remaining. Michael Schumacher is the only driver to have previously won the title with six races remaining, doing so in 2002. With Red Bull having already won the Constructors’ Championship, it would make it the first time in F1 history that there would be six consecutive ‘dead rubber’ races at the end of a season.
Verstappen would become the 11th driver to have won three Drivers’ Championship titles and only the fifth to have won three successive titles, after Juan Manuel Fangio (in 1956), Michael Schumacher (in 2002), Sebastian Vettel (in 2012) and Lewis Hamilton (in 2020). Verstappen would become the second-youngest triple World Champion in Formula 1, at 195 days older than Vettel when he won his third title at the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix.
Qatar would become the 22nd different country in which the Drivers’ Championship has been won if Verstappen clinches enough points to win the title over the race weekend, while Lusail Circuit would be the 32nd different circuit to have hosted a title decider. A title win for Verstappen over the 2023 Qatar Grand Prix would make it the fifth time that the title has been won at night, after the 2010, 2014, 2016 and 2021 Abu Dhabi Grands Prix.
Sprint Saturday at the 2023 Qatar Grand Prix will mark 664 days since Verstappen’s first title win at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. It would be the fewest number of days between a driver winning their first and third titles, breaking Sebastian Vettel’s record by 78 days.
A title win for Verstappen on Sunday at the Qatar Grand Prix would make it the second time that a driver has been crowned World Champion for the third time on October 8. Michael Schumacher also won his third title on October 8 in 2000.