From contenders to pretenders: A closer look at every team's car for the 2024 F1 season

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From contenders to pretenders: A closer look at every team's car for the 2024 F1 season
The new RB20, to be driven by Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez
The new RB20, to be driven by Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez
AFP
Following Thursday's unveiling of the reigning champions' RB20, each car that will take to the grid for the 2024 Formula 1 season has now been revealed.

Here's a rundown of each's team challenger for the upcoming campaign, which will begin in Bahrain on March 2nd after testing takes place there from February 21st to February 23rd. 

Red Bull

A big statement from the champions. F1's dominant force let the rest of the teams present their cars first, with many of them copying past concepts from Red Bull guru Adrian Newey, before unveiling a radical new design themselves. Unlike most teams on the grid, the champions have avoided the temptation of replicating Newey's design from last season, instead seeking further innovations. 

Despite being under investigation with his future very much unclear, team principal Christian Horner led the presentation, where Max Verstappen expressed confidence that his new 'toy' will be a good one.

Mercedes

In Lewis Hamilton's final year at Mercedes, the German team wants to give him a machine with which he and George Russell can get back to winning ways following a two-year absence from the top step of the podium for the once-dominant outfit.

The Silver Arrows have made a huge modification to their W15, abandoning their previous concept with the side-pods, floor and rear end all being changed to match up largely with the style of the 2023 Red Bull. The nose is also shorter than the W14's, and even the engine cover has been redesigned.

Ferrari

In their final season before the arrival of Hamilton, Ferrari will have to try and keep outgoing driver Carlos Sainz motivated, and whether they decide to prioritise Leclerc to the detriment of the Spaniard or not is unclear, but it is known that the SF-24 is a very different car to that one that Sainz won a race with last year.

It's effectively a brand-new car, with the nose, the sidepods and the diffuser all changed to more closely resemble last year's Red Bull. The floor has also been redesigned to hopefully improve cornering and the suspension to try and avoid excessive tyre wear. Newey should ask for royalties.

McLaren

The MCL38 will be hoping to build on the good results of its predecessor in the final races of 2023, when Norris was able to rub shoulders with Verstappen, scoring six second-place finishes. The hope in Woking is that the team will take another step forward with the new car.

The nose is shorter and narrower - another in the style of the Red Bull - as are the new flow deflectors and the smaller engine cover. It retains its front suspension style, the so-called pull-rod, which they believe helps them avoid porpoising.

Aston Martin

The most surprising car at the start of last season was undoubtedly the AMR23, the second-fastest on the grid. However, it then didn't develop as much as the completion and the team finished a disappointing fifth. Now though, Fernando Alonso and Co. are feeling positive again heading into the new season.

The most striking aspect of the new design is the nose, which is shorter, and which now connects to the bottom flap of the wing, unlike last year. The floor has also been hugely redesigned.

Alpine

Alpine undoubtedly took a step backwards, or even two steps, last season. The pairing of Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly didn't work too well with friction on and off the track. That and the fact that the car didn't work on many circuits raised tensions and left the French team sixth in the championship. A revolution is therefore urgently needed.

They're all too aware of that going by their 2024 challenger, with every part of the car being redesigned from last year. They already know that their Renault power unit will have less horsepower than the other engines on the grid, and so will have to find creative ways to make up for that deficit in other areas. 

Williams

One of F1's most historic teams are trying to dig themselves out of the hole they have been in for years, and the primary objective of the new FW46 is to do what last year's car did and take them one step further away from the bottom of the grid. 

Lead driver Alex Albon has said that he'll have to modify his driving style for the new car because the factory have taken all of his feedback onboard and made the many modifications that were requested. Promising words.

RB

The objective of the team formerly known as 'AlphaTauri' is to shake off the backmarker status that they picked up last season and get back into the midfield battle again.

To achieve this, they haven't hesitated to take inspiration, perhaps too much for the rest of the grid's liking, from sister team Red Bull's previous machinery. The VCARB 01 looks very similar to Verstappen's title-winning car, raising suspicions of the sharing of technical and aerodynamic information between the teams

Sauber

Sauber, previously called Alfa Romeo and now called Stake F1 but only at certain races - no, really - were the second-worst team on the 2023 grid, dropping from sixth to ninth, and such a drop-off is something they cannot afford again if they want to be in a strong position for the highly anticipated Audi takeover in 2026.

Therefore, their challenger has been changed considerably. Red Bull's influence on its design is clear, particularly in the suspension, but the intention is to develop the car continuously and considerably with the initial design simply being a starting point.

Haas

The first team to show their car for 2024 was Haas, perhaps for marketing reasons - to get the attention that they may struggle to receive once the racing gets underway. After all, they're widely expected to be the backmarkers of the grid. 

Unsurprisingly given their limited funds and resources, their new car is a fairly basic evolution of last year's. Most notably, they've moved part of the radiator area higher up towards the centreline and have moved the lower side impact protection bar down. They've also refined the fronts of the side-pods in an effort to improve airflow.

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