F1 race start

Will the 2024 Formula 1 season be worth watching?

As the engines rev into life for the start of the 2024 Formula 1 season this weekend, one question remains for some fans – will this season actually be worth watching?

After Max Verstappen won a staggering 19 of the 22 Grands Prix last year, Verstappen and Red Bull’s unrivalled dominance looks set to continue for a third consecutive season – a theory which holds little hope for fans wishing to see some rivalry for the Drivers’ Championship.

However, following one of the most dramatic F1 off-seasons in recent memory, there appears to still be plenty of entertainment for fans over the course of 2024.

Here are four of the main reasons to watch this Formula 1 season, one which may be less predictable than at first glance.

Can anyone slow down Max Verstappen?

Verstappen is aiming to become the fourth driver ever to win four consecutive Drivers’ Championships, joining Juan Manuel Fangio, Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton.

By all accounts, this seemed very likely heading into the season with Red Bull’s RB20 the fastest car by a full second on the opening day of testing.

However, Verstappen appeared unhappy with the car in the first practice in Bahrain, complaining about his downshifts in an explicit rant.

Verstappen complaining about his car’s gear shifts is nothing new, but his dissatisfaction has still raised some doubts about Red Bull’s superiority entering the season.

Ferrari, Mercedes and Aston Martin all appear relatively strong – Hamilton and George Russell completed a Mercedes one-two in Thursday practice with Alonso’s Aston Martin just 0.08secs further adrift – meaning there is no shortage of contenders to capitalise on any sign of Red Bull weakness.

Even if Red Bull do remain the frontrunners, Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez often starts seasons strongly and could keep things close with the defending champion while other teams work on upgrades.

Either way, Verstappen’s dominance is by no means guaranteed, although a fourth consecutive championship would be a record worthy of witnessing.

Driver movement drama

While the grid this year is identical to those who ended 2023, there promises to be a significant shake-up post-2024.

Hamilton’s announcement on February 1 of his move to Ferrari for next season was the first and biggest domino to fall – yet several other seats, namely Hamilton’s at Mercedes, remain up for grabs.

This season will serve as an audition for many drivers looking to earn a move to another team next year, such as Carlos Sainz, who announced his departure from Ferrari shortly after news of Hamilton’s plans broke.

Rumours of Fernando Alonso’s retirement have been swirling, but should the two-time champion stay in F1, he also could make himself a major player next off-season.

With much uncertainty hanging over the composition of the grid in 2025, there is even more to be won and lost than normal for many drivers.

Lewis Hamilton’s last dance with Mercedes

As mentioned, Hamilton’s announcement of his impending move to Ferrari shook the F1 world, pairing the most iconic team in the sport with its biggest name.

Williams driver Alex Albon’s recent assertion that Hamilton is “as big, if not bigger” than F1 itself shows just how significant the move is as the 39-year-old Hamilton enters the final phase of his career.

Despite his age, Hamilton has shown few signs of slowing down.

He finished third in the Drivers Standings last year, ahead of anyone not driving a Red Bull, and earned six podiums.

Hamilton is still chasing his first race win since December 2021 though as he looks to finish his 12th and final season with Mercedes on a high.

Longest F1 season ever

The 2024 season will be the biggest ever, featuring a record 24 race weekends.

Several race weekends such as China and Miami will also include sprint races as the F1 calendar continues to grow.

With drivers now able to activate DRS one lap after a race starts instead of two, 2024 could offer more exciting races as well as a greater quantity.

Of course, more races could simply lead to an even longer season dominated by Verstappen, but there still seems to be plenty of things to look out for in 2024 for F1 fans.

The 2024 season gets underway with race day in Bahrain on Saturday March 2 at 3pm.

Featured image credit: via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons 4.0 Attribution International License)

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