The sporting preview of the 2024 Formula 1 season

As of: February 27, 2024 7:51 p.m

Loose manhole covers during the tests in Bahrain, a boss in criticism, the switch from Lewis Hamilton to Ferrari, by far the most races of all time: before the start of the new Formula 1 season, the focus is not so much on the sporting issues. There are definitely some interesting details that could shape the racing year 2024 with its total of 30 races.

Fans and experts agree: Max Verstappen and Red Bull can only beat themselves. It might not even matter who wears the boss hat. There are rumors behind closed doors that there will be a power struggle in the most successful racing team in recent years. In addition to the criticized team boss Christian Horner, motorsport boss Dr. Helmut Marko is in charge of the team. The now 80-year-old former racing driver has just extended his contract for another three years. Marko recently demanded that the internal team affair surrounding Horner be resolved quickly.

Designer Newey amazes the competition

The new RB-20 racing car from Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez still attracted attention during the most recent tests in Bahrain. Designer Adrian Newey and his engineers are supposed to design the racing car “controlled aggressive” have redesigned, said Verstappen, without going into details. Due to planned changes to the regulations for next year, the cars have only been modified for 2024.

But it was said that Newey had probably found some details “daring” and are said to have amazed the competition. It is not for nothing that Red Bull has become team champion twice in the past three years and has won three individual titles with Verstappen. Newey pushes the limits of what is technically possible like no other – he is considered a genius.

And yet the Red Bull times in the test drives are not particularly meaningful – at best a pointer. Although Verstappen turned the fastest lap on the first day, his competitor Ferrari was ahead on the following two days. However, since the tests are extremely important for the final development of the cars, the teams don’t focus so much on the best times during the test drives, but instead collect knowledge about the interaction between the racing cars, the different tires and the driver.

Does it rotate? balance of power between Mercedes and Ferrari?

In 2023, Ferrari had to settle for third place in the constructors’ championship because of three points over Mercedes. This relationship could change in 2024, and Hamilton’s future team Ferrari could become a more serious competitor to Red Bull. Red Bull finished last year with more than twice as many points as Mercedes or Ferrari were able to achieve (860:409:406). The role of Carlos Sainz, who will lose his cockpit to Hamilton, will be interesting.

At Mercedes they are waiting for George Russell’s breakthrough, Hamilton could be “demoted” to number two within the team. A not unimportant detail, because the cars of a racing team tend to be developed towards number 1. This is also supported by the fact that Russell says he spent a lot of time with team boss Toto Wolff. The Brit will be with Mercedes at least until 2025. His new teammate has not yet been determined.

The “eternal” Nico Hülkenberg

The only German pilot in 2024 will be Nico Hülkenberg. The veteran, who made his debut in the so-called premier class of motorsport in 2010, is racing again for the American Haas racing team. In the test, the now 36-year-old “Hülk” surprised with eleventh place on Friday, which put him ahead of Lewis Hamilton, but above all, almost a second and a half ahead of his teammate Kevin Magnussen.

Reason for a bit of euphoria? Rather not. Because on the first two of the three test days, the two Haas drivers were (almost) at the end of the field. Haas is hoping for a jump into the midfield of the racing teams under the new team boss, the Japanese Ayao Komatsu.

The 24 races and six sprints will demand a lot from the teams; some drivers have already complained about the challenges of the long season. If Red Bull dominance continues this year, the “perceived” length of the season could become even greater. The majority of fans are hoping for an exciting title fight.