Formula 1 season 2024: this is new for Formula 1

As of: February 20, 2024 9:27 p.m

World champion Max Verstappen and his pursuers will be testing their new cars for the upcoming Formula 1 season for three days starting this Wednesday (February 21, 2024). 87 days after the season finale in Abu Dhabi, the teams will meet to tackle the record season of 24 races plus six sprint races.

The tests take place on the Bahrain International Circuit from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. local time (8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CET). There are no major rule changes in the technical area, so most of the cars are further developments of last year’s models.

Record season with 24 races and six sprints

From March 2nd, the next world champion will be searched for in 24 races and six sprints. In order to facilitate logistics due to the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan, which begins on March 10th, the first two races of the season in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia will take place on Saturdays. Training and qualifying will take place on Thursdays and Fridays. From the Australian Grand Prix on March 24th, the drivers will be doing laps in the usual rhythm with the race on Sunday.

Perez: “We know there are too many races”

Not all drivers are satisfied with the large number of races. “We know there are too many races. It will be a brutal calendar for everyone involved in the sport”said Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez, who said he would prefer a maximum of 20 races. “But it’s not up to me to decide”added the Mexican veteran.

After all, the regulations for the sprint races have been changed so that the teams are now allowed to work on the cars during the six weekends in question. Until this season, that was on the sprint weekends because of the strict “Parc ferme“Regulation” not possible.

Does the role of favorites change?

Max Verstappen is once again the big favorite. And what does Lewis Hamilton do? It is one of the most spectacular changes in Formula 1 history. The record world champion is contesting his last season for Mercedes; after twelve years he will join Ferrari in 2025. But there is no doubt that the now 39-year-old will continue to do everything in 2024 to ensure that Mercedes is as successful as possible.

But it’s not just Max Verstappen who believes in one “something unpleasant” Year: “Lewis certainly has a great relationship with everyone there.” At a certain point, Toto Wolff will become Mercedes Motorsport Director “But tell him: ‘I’m sorry, you can no longer attend certain meetings.'”

How has Mercedes developed?

The starting point is quite clear. Mercedes is coming off a season in which the team went without a single win for the first time in twelve years. Ferrari only won once, otherwise everything went to Red Bull in 2023. There, on the other hand, the relationships between Verstappen and Sergio Perez were so clear that hardly anyone believed in an exciting stable duel.

Overall, the number of teams remains the same. The American Michael Andretti’s racing team was not admitted. However, there are two team name changes for the new season. Red Bull’s sister racing team is no longer called AlphaTauri but Visa Cash App RB. And Sauber has ended its very short “name trip” to Alfa Romeo and is called Peter Sauber again like founder. The official team name is Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber.

The “eternal” Nico Hülkenberg

The “eternal” Nico Hülkenberg (36) is also there this year, with Haas the Rhinelander is making a new attempt – with a different line-up. The team boss Günther Steiner, who was quite prominent, especially thanks to the Netflix documentary, had to leave after unsuccessful years, and Ayao Komatsu is moving to the forefront for him. Things should get better: Haas recently fell back to the end of the field.

Mick Schumacher is still in the role of spectator; the 24-year-old remains a reserve driver at Mercedes, but also wants to race again himself. That’s why Schumacher is starting at the same time in the World Endurance Championship for Alpine, with the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June as the highlight.