Everything you need to know for the 2024 Formula 1 season

March 2, 2024
Ten teams, 20 drivers, and 24 Grand Prixs across five different continents — the 2024 Formula 1 (F1) season officially began yesterday, so today’s special edition newsletter has everything you need to know before this morning’s 10 a.m. ET Bahrain Grand Prix (GP).
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Everything you need to know for the 2024 Formula 1 season
Source: Max Verstappen/X

🏎️ How it works

Formula 1 isn’t just about racing. It’s about the festivities, electric atmosphere, and high-speed Netflix-worthy theatrics. It’s the pinnacle of motorsport, blending skill, speed, strategy, and glamor.

There are 10 teams in F1 and each team is equipped with two drivers. That said, it’s more than just a two-man effort. The drivers are supported by millions of dollars, a crew of mechanics, engineers, and strategists who keep the wheels turning — literally.

F1’s longest campaign to date, the 2024 season runs from March to December and features 24 races across 21 countries. The calendar includes iconic race tracks such as Monza (Italy) and Monaco (France), as well as exciting newer street circuits like Miami and Las Vegas.

Each Grand Prix weekend typically takes place over three days. On Friday, there are practice sessions leading up to Saturday’s qualifying race. Drivers get an empty track to race against the clock to determine the line-up for Sunday’s race-day. The driver who finishes qualifying the fastest will be on pole (i.e. get the most advantageous starting position) on Sunday, and so on and so forth.

  • Certain weekends also include Sprint races, a shorter (but still exciting!) version of a GP While GP’s are at least 305 km long and can last up to two hours, a Saturday Sprint race covers 100 km and is about 30 minutes in duration.
  • While most GPs take place on Sundays, the first two races of the season (as well as November’s Las Vegas Grand Prix) are going down on Saturday.

Drivers rack up points based on how they finish in races. The driver with the highest score at the end of the season earns the coveted World Drivers’ Championship, and teams with the most combined points between their two drivers take home the World Constructors’ Championship. Buckle up.

🤪 The offseason, aka silly season

A group photo of all 20 drivers competing in the 2024 Formula 1 season.
Source: F1/X

For the first time in F1 history, this year’s driver and constructor line-up is identical to the end of last year’s. But don’t get too comfortable: there’s still a silly season ahead.

  • While the grid remains completely unchanged for 2024, things could look very different come 2025. Thirteen (!!!) out of 20 drivers are currently in the final year of their contracts.

In fact, silly season has already begun with the circuit seeing some wild shake-ups in the 2024 offseason that will shape the 2025 season.

  • Case in point? Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton broke the internet when he announced last month that he’d be leaving Mercedes for Ferrari in 2025, leaving Carlos Sainz — the only non–Red Bull driver to win a race last year — without a seat.
  • Until then, Hamilton will race one last season with Mercedes, while Sainz races his last for Ferrari. Awkward.

Although the same faces make up the grid this year, two teams underwent a rebrand in the three months between the 2023 and 2024 seasons.

👀 Drivers to watch

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton celebrating on the podium with Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc.
Source: LeClercNews/X

🇳🇱 Max Verstappen, Red Bull: Undoubtedly the most dominant driver on the grid, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won 19 of 22 races last year. He holds the record for most wins (19) in a season, as well as most consecutive wins (10). Needless to say, the Dutchman is the driver to beat.

  • Verstappen is also aiming for a four-peat this year. But with each team entering this season with a new upgraded car, this season is going to be more competitive than ever.

🇬🇧 Sir Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes: The most successful driver in F1 history, Sir Lewis Hamilton holds the records for most wins (103) and pole positions (104). This will be the GOAT’s final season with Mercedes, with whom he won six of his seven World Championships.

  • As mentioned, he’s set to join Ferrari in 2025, marking the end of the most successful driver and team partnership in history. Until then, it’s time for one last ride, one last time.

🇲🇨 Charles Leclerc, Ferrari: Ferrari — the oldest, most successful and prestigious team on the grid — has not won a Drivers’ World Championship since 2007. Charles Leclerc is hoping to end that drought and lead Ferrari to victory by winning his first career title.

🇬🇧 Lando Norris, McLaren: After a dramatic midseason turnaround, McLaren is hoping to keep the momentum going by building upon its strong performance last year. Lando Norris looked to be one of Verstappen’s closest competitors in the second half of last season, but surprisingly, he’s yet to win a race.

  • The pressure is on for Norris, whose sophomore teammate Oscar Piastri has been raising the bar.

🇨🇦 Lance Stroll, Aston Martin: After years without much red and white representation on the grid, the 25-year-old has been putting the country on his back. In 2017, Stroll became the first Canadian to reach the podium since Jacques Villeneuve in 2001. Magnifique.

  • Aston Martin started strong last year, but suffered a mid-season drop-off in performance. Competing alongside two-time world champion and veteran Fernando Alonso, the key for Stroll will be to stay consistent.

🇺🇸 Logan Sargeant, Williams: The only American racer on the grid is entering his second year hungry for more. He may have snagged just one point last year, but it was the first point scored by an American in the 21st century. And guess where? None other than the United States Grand Prix in Austin.

  • The last American to win an F1 race? Mario Andretti in 1978. With F1’s rising popularity in America, Sargeant is hoping to break this dry spell — and hopefully get it done at his home race in Miami.

📺 How to tune in

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz standing on top of his car after winning the 2023 Singapore Grand Prix.
Source: Carlos Sainz/X

The first of 24 races, the Bahrain GP is going down this morning at 10 a.m. ET with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on pole. Start your engines and tune in on ESPN in the U.S. and TSN in Canada. Vroom vroom.