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21st Feb 2024

All you need to know ahead of the 2024 season of Formula 1


Can anyone knock Max Verstappen and Red Bull off their perch?

The 2024 Formula 1 season roars into life at the Bahrain international Circuit, next week, with the first race taking place on March 2.

Max Verstappen and his Red Bull team cruised to the drivers and constructors titles, in 2023, with Mercedes the best of the rest, despite George Russell’s struggles. Ferrari were pipped to P3 in the constructors standings but Carlos Sainz Jr. had the honour of being the only non-Red Bull driver to win a race during the season.

Ahead of the 2024 season, with Netflix helping to tee up the drama with the new Drive to Survive [clip below], Fiona Shields gives us a run-down on the F1 runners and riders.

Formula 1 season preview: 2024


Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez of Oracle Red Bull Racing. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

OVERVIEW: Red Bull, last year, was much of what we expected, and this season should be no different. Their 1-2 finish in the drivers standing showed how dominant the car was. They built a car that had unbelievable race pace when compared to the rest of the field, which made up for their less-than-expected qualifying pace.

Max Verstappen has been at one with the Red Bull car in recent years and the performances he can extract are frightening. He is the team’s future, until 2028 at least, and is justifying it in his improvement on and off the track – he is in total control of that car and is letting everyone know about it.

Sergio Perez has been seen as the number two driver for the Austrian team and many people were surprised, considering Red Bull’s ruthless nature, that he was kept on for this season. Despite him winning two races last year, his teammate winning 19 of the 22 was never going to paint him in a good light. If he does not step it up this season, we could almost be certain in seeing a new Red Bull pairing for 2025.


Lewis Hamilton (R) and George Russell of Mercedes AMG. (Photo by Kym Illman/Getty Images)

OVERVIEW: Mercedes have had a tough time of it recently. After 2021, the car just hasn’t looked like your typical Mercedes AMG car. The inconsistency of the car has made it hard for the team to really know where they fell, compared to other teams. With the off-season news of Lewis Hamilton leaving the Brackley based team for the iconic red of Ferrari, this could lead to some friction in the team as their most successful driver could turn into their rival. Trying to find a driver to replace the 7-time world champion will be difficult as they are big shoes to fill.

Lewis Hamilton finished P3 in the drivers championship – bringing in points every race weekend was huge for the team’s fight for P2 in the constructors championship. Hamilton leaving the team was a big shock in the world of Formula 1, just like his decision to join the team in 2013. However, with the team and himself focused on the season ahead and making the most of his last season it could be an interesting final bow.

George Russell hasn’t quite matched up to his teammate on race pace being beaten 15-7 but he has certainly lived up to his Mr. Saturday name – matching the World Champion winning driver 11-11 in qualifying. Finishing P8 in the driver’s standings is not where he wanted to be but the prospect of leaving the team next should add an extra level of motivation.


Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz pose for the Ferrari Team Photo. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

OVERVIEW: Ferrari have had an interesting year with ups and downs like many teams on the grid. Carlos Sainz being the only non Red Bull driver to win a race has to be at the top of the list, along with nine podiums and seven pole positions across the team shows that there is pace in the car. It is just a matter of getting it out. Under Fred Vasseur the issue of strategy hasn’t been as prevalent as in previous years but remains a concern. With Hamilton joining the team, will the Scuderia start turning their focus more toward Charles Leclerc, creating friction between Sainz and the team?

Charles Leclerc was unlucky last year with some reliability issues, but he must also take the blame for some of the crashes he has had in high pressure situations, as he has done in his five full seasons with the team. P5 in the Driver Championship is a good result but if he wants to win a championship with Ferrari he is going to have to capitalise on his moments of brilliance more.

Carlos Sainz, despite having to leave the team at the end of the year to make room for Hamiton was very close to Leclerc during the course of the season finishing on 6 points behind the Monegasque driver in P7 in the driver championship. He will want to put his all into this season to show other teams on the grid what he is capable of doing.


Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris of McLaren. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

OVERVIEW: McLaren had an incredible turnaround with a huge help in upgrades from the start of last season, going from scoring 0 points in the first two races to scoring podiums and winning a sprint race. If McLaren can keep the momentum they gathered from last season and bring into this season, the Papaya could very well be fighting for race wins. The young and talented line up in Norris and Piastri are both in contract until 2026, which makes the future of this team very exciting.

Lando Norris was one of the stand-out drivers of the season last year, Norris only finishing P6 in the drivers standings doesn’t show the improvement he and the car made, over the course of the season. Norris really stepped up once the first batch of upgrades landed on the McLaren car, which led to him scoring seven podiums over the season.

Oscar Piastri was without a doubt rookie of the year with two podiums and a sprint win in Qatar putting him in P9 in the drivers standings, finishing above the two other rookies on the grid – De Vries and Sargeant. Piastri was very impressive when stacked up to Norris, already a team mainstay. A very good rookie year from Piastri.


(Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

OVERVIEW: The start of the Aston Martin journey with Fernando Alonso has to be the highlight of the season for the team. With the Spanish driver getting eight podiums for the Silverstone based team it was brilliant for all involved, although the middle and end of the season was less spectacular. The serious drop in pace really hurt the team in their fight for P2 in the constructors championship, which resulted in them finishing P5. If they want to get back fighting for P2 in the constructors they are going to have to find some of the pace they had at the start of last season.

Fernando Alonso out-performed his teammate of the course of the season, scoring 206 points and finishing in P4 in the drivers standings. His first year in the team was a successful one but also one that can be improved on.

Lance Stroll finishing P10 in the drivers’ standings is bad, relative to his teammate, considering his time in the team, but the 2-time World Champion seems to have found a new prime. His hand injury at the start of the season couldn’t have helped his driving and is hopefully fully healed going into the season ahead.


Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon of Alpine F1. (Photo by Kym Illman/Getty Images)

OVERVIEW: The French team found themselves in an annoying no man’s land situation, finishing P6 in the constructors, being quicker than the lower half of the grid but not quick enough to fight with the top four teams. Mid-season management change – Otmar Szafnauer moved on – couldn’t have helped the teams chances of working their way up the grid.

Pierre Gasly settled in well to the team after his time spent at the Red Bull Family by finishing ahead of his French teammate in P11, scoring a P3 finish in both a race and a sprint. Gasly got to grips with the car very quickly and will have a good base to build on for the upcoming season.

Estenban Ocon was unlucky with technical issues during last season, leaving him with more DNFs then Gasly. Despite this he still should have out-performed Gasly, which did not happen. Finishing P12 in the drivers standings with a podium finish in Monaco isn’t great but it is something that can be worked on.


Logan Sergeant and Alex Albon of Williams Racing FW45. (Photo by Michael Potts/BSR Agency/Getty Images)

OVERVIEW: Williams have seen a very mixed season this year with Alex Albon scoring nearly all of their points, compared to Logan Sargent scoring only one point. The car’s pace in a straight line for the Williams helped them out hugely in grand prix like Monza, where there were a lot of points secured for the team. For Williams to improve this year, they are going to need to get Sargent into better form early on in the season so that he can keep up with Albon.

Alex Albon was the heavy points-winner for Williams, last term, with 27 points, finishing in P13 in the drivers standings. Albon also impressed in Qualifying, beating his team mate 22-0 and 18-2 in the race. Albon has stepped up to be the leader of this team and looks promising going into next season.

Logan Sargent being a rookie had low enough expectations put on him for his first season but more was expected of him than what was shown. Finishing P21 in the Drivers Standings is not a good place to be, but he did begin to set towards the end of the season. If he wants to close the gap to his teammate he is going to have to stop making as many mistakes as he did last season.

RB F1 Team

Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda of the Visa Cash App RB team. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

OVERVIEW: The Red Bull sister team has a new name and a new principle. Alpha Tauri has been changed to Visa Cash App RB F1 Team and Franz Tost retiring leaving Laurent Mekies to take control of the team. Last season saw the ruthlessness of Helmut Marko as Nyck De Vries got replaced by Daniel Ricciardo mid season who then got injured. This left Liam Lawson to step in and he put in an impressive performance. Hopefully with a bit of experience in Ricciardo, RB can push forward past their P8 constructors finish last year.

Yuki Tsunonda stepped forward as team leader last season and became very consistent in finishing P11 or P12. His point finishes did mean he finished P14 in the Drivers Standings outscoring all of his other teammates. Tsunonda still has room for more emotional control, which can help him make fewer mistakes.

Daniel Ricciardo after injuring his hand during practice in the Dutch GP had to sit out five races to recover, he came back and finished P7 in Mexico. That was a great resultm but it being his only points finish was a bit disappointing from the 8-time Grand Prix winner. Starting from the beginning of the season should help Ricciardo improve from his P17 finish in the driver standings.


Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu of Alfa Romeo F1. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

OVERVIEW: Alfa Romeo has been formally rebranded to Kick Sauber and hopefully with a new name comes a new chapter. Last year’s car was poor and was shown in the results, a P9 in the constructor championship is not where they wanted to be. If they want to progress from last season, they will have to develop their car more.

Valtteri Bottas had a pretty quiet season last year as we didn’t see a lot of him due to the poor performance of the car. The only take-away for Bottas would be that he stretched the gap from himself to Zhou and is still the team’s leader going into this season.

Zhou Guanyu had more of a season to forget than remember. He fell behind Bottas and will have to improve if he is to stay in the team. With F2 winner Theo Pourchaire in the wings ready for a drive, Zhou should be aware that his seat is being sought after.


Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg of Haas F1. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

OVERVIEW: Haas had another forgettable season, finishing last in the constructor’s championship and only having 12 points to show for it. They didn’t understand their car last year with the drivers often running two different specs on race weekends. With Guenter Steiner gone from Haas, Komatsu has stepped up from inside the team, but doesn’t have a lot of confidence in the car.

Nico Hulkenburg put in a really good shift at Haas, last year, after not being in the sport for two years. He out-shone his teammate Kevin Magnussen in both race and qualifying head-to-heads and finished above him in P16 in the drivers standings. Hulkenberg was definitely the more on-form driver out of the two. Let’s hope he can bring that form through into this season.

Kevin Magnussen did not have the best season of his career, by any stretch. Finishing three places behind his teammate in P19 was not where he would have wanted to be, although he did have one good qualifying performance. Hopefully Magnussen can progress from that.

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