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F1 2024: What to expect this season

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Formula 1 grid Photo
Formula 1 grid. Photo/ F1
  • The Formula 1 2024 season is set to begin this weekend at the Bahrain circuit.
  • We look at what Formula 1 fans all over the world should expect this weekend.

The Formula 1 2024 season is set to begin this weekend at the Bahrain circuit.

The last time the Formula 1 grid competed passionately was in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which will have been 98 days ago.

We look at what Formula 1 fans all over the world should expect this weekend.

A better ‘Chasing Pack’

Abu Dhabi 2

Abu Dhabi F1 race. Photo/Motorsportswee

A common element that emerged from testing was the teams’ sense of accomplishment as they attempted to get closer to Red Bull. Whether Red Bull has advanced further or not, many people saw positive signals when considering their circumstances.

Despite referring to the previous year’s test as the worst of his career, Charles Leclerc believes that this time was far better since Ferrari has improved the SF-24’s consistency and driveability, giving them a stronger foundation upon which to grow.

There’s a recurring theme at Mercedes, where George Russell and Lewis Hamilton both expressed how much they like the W15 and how much better it feels to drive than the problematic W14 from the previous season. Both of those teams showed no indications of significant problems that needed to be fixed after testing, so they should be free to concentrate only on advancements and the growth of their cars rather than troubleshooting.

Twelve months ago, McLaren was in serious difficulties due to a car that lacked competitiveness and reliability problems. They had a difficult preseason for the second year in a row, but they had faith in their growth strategy and made a fantastic midseason comeback.

McLaren also gets off to a brighter start this year since they seem to be right in the thick of things behind Red Bull, much as they were at the close of the previous year. Only Aston Martin hasn’t made much of an improvement over the previous year, but that’s mostly due to how significant their 2023 jump was, and they’ve managed to stay competitive as their primary competitors have dealt with apparent issues.

All in all, four teams that are ready to go forward, despite the possibility that they will have another gap to bridge with Red Bull at the beginning of the season. And it may result in further races with a variety of competitors at the top.

Competition all over the field

Despite the difficulty the remainder of the field faced in competing for podiums due to the above-mentioned gains, there have generally been advancements made around the grid.

It appears from testing that most places will see intense competition again this year, with several teams vying for first place and a number of them having the ability to qualify for the third round and often challenge for points.

Haas was impressed by RB’s testing regimen, and it seems like they have carried over their late-season success into a stronger starting position this year. Alpine, Williams, and Kick Sauber are the teams in between the two groups, and each of them has demonstrated that it is possible to aim to be the sixth-fastest team at certain points in the race.

Given that Alpine approached testing somewhat differently than its competitors, this may be the most unanswered question. It feels a little less certain where they fit into the overall scheme of things than where they rise in the hierarchy.

Everyone trying to stop Verstappen

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Red Bull driver Max Verstappen. Photo/PlanetF1

The best indication of whether Verstappen, who finished the 2023 season with a seven-race winning streak, will be able to simply continue up where he left off again will come from the Bahrain Grand Prix.

If so, the other drivers on the grid should probably be concerned about their chances of contending for the World Championship since, as we saw both the previous year and the year before when he was driving in perfect harmony with his last two vehicles, very nothing was able to get in his way.

Sandbagging

f1 cost cap regulations

Formula One cars. Photo/GoodWood

Well, it’s that time of year again—”sandbagging”—when that well-worn term makes a comeback in the Formula 1 vernacular.

You’re going to hear it a lot more this week if you’re new to Formula One and haven’t heard it before.

Sandbagging is basically when teams intentionally run their cars in less powerful engine settings or when drivers don’t push for a complete lap to conceal their real capabilities during pre-season testing.

So, the important thing here is to focus on something else after each day rather than reading too much into the leaderboards.

I am an ardent sports enthusiast interested in writing about football, motorsport and athletics.

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