Analysis: Early Hints Of Pecking Order After First Four Car Launches

F1
by Adam OndrikFriday, 09 February 2024 at 06:00
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Four Formula 1 teams have already revealed their 2024 challengers and given some early hints about their performance expectations.
The first race of the 2024 F1 season is only 22 days away, and pre-season testing starts in less than two weeks from the time this article is posted.
The anticipation is gradually building up as we wait for six more teams to reveal their 2024 challengers, but some early conclusions can be made from the four launches we have already seen.

Haas

The problem is that Haas went down a development route towards the end of the 2023 season, and that hampered the team's progress.
In 2023, the American team finished last in the Championship, and the team owner decided to replace the former team principal, Guenther Steiner, with Ayao Komatsu.
However, even the new team principal stated his team would possibly get off the line as the slowest one in 2024. To all the Haas fans, brace yourselves; this season is going to be challenging.

Williams

Williams sacrificed the development of their car in 2023 for improved performance in 2024. Their FW46 represents a significant change compared to the previous model.
Alex Albon suggested the car feels different to handle on the simulator but confidently stated his team "has definitely done a good job," hinting he expects big progress.
The British team could have the fastest car out of the four teams that already introduced their challengers and might be hoping to challenge some teams from top five, but we have to wait for the first race to see.

Sauber/ Stake

Sauber (formerly Alfa Romeo) finished the 2023 season as the ninth team on the grid. Like Haas, the team struggled heavily towards the end of the season.
The Swiss-based team was aware of how much pace they lacked behind the top 8. Consequently, they decided to make some aggressive changes.
While Valtteri Bottas asserted his expectations are high, it is unlikely we would see Sauber inside the top five in 2024. On the other hand, Aston Martin proved to everyone last season that such steps forward are possible.
Nevertheless, Stake is going into the season as one of the underdogs, and we can't wait to see how they compare to their competitors.

Alpine

Alpine unveiled their 2024 car on the 7th of February. The team also announced that the interim team principal from the second half of the latest season, Bruno Famin, will be fully taking over the job in 2024.
Alpine has two great, equally matched drivers who delivered incredible results last season, even with only the sixth-fastest car on the grid. But can the French team give their drivers something more competitive this year?
Alpine also made massive changes to their previous concept, stating that only the steering wheel stayed the same. It is understood they aren't very confident in the car they will bring for the season's first race.
Alpine rather suggested the A524 is a perfect platform for upcoming upgrades. Famin said his team is "focused on learning and reacting" rather than "on results."