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  • Writer's pictureBen Waterworth

F1 pre-season team power rankings: 'If you’re not a Red Bull fan, 2024 is going to be another long season'

As the anticipation grows for another F1 season, all eyes are fixated on the grid of 20 cars in Bahrain this weekend to see just how the 2024 season will fall into place. And with only one testing session behind us, there is always plenty of speculation and guesswork heading into the opening round of a season to see just where the teams will be in the pecking order once the chequered flag falls at Sakhir.

So that means there’s one thing to do now, and that is bring you the first edition of F1 power rankings in 2024, based purely on a mix of that speculation and guesswork off the back of the solitary practice session we’ve seen. As always with these power rankings, it’s all conjecture. None of this is gospel. Perhaps in my head it is, but for the most part, it’s a mix of opinion and analysis combined with a splice of entertainment. And who doesn’t like a good combination of those three? Especially when it comes to trying to guess the rankings ahead of the longest F1 season yet.

Will you agree with this list? You’re about to find out! Let’s get to it!

10. Haas

Unsurprisingly, Haas brings up the rear of this list, just like they are expected to bring up the rear of the field in 2024. The team completed the most laps of any during the three-day Bahrain test and focussed solely on long runs to try and iron out the tyre wear issues that plagued their 2023. However, they didn’t set the world alight with any of their performances during the test, confirming that 2024 looks set to be another long one for the American team.

9. Kick Sauber

Despite setting the third fastest time of the test at the hands of Zhou Guanyu, Kick Sauber will seemingly stay planted toward the rear of the field for 2024. Valtteri Bottas praised the performance of the car saying it was an improvement on last year, especially when it came to stability under high speeds. However, the team is known for putting on a glory lap or two in the past to get some headlines around the performance, and if history shows us anything it’s that while a few points positions may be possible in the first few races, the team will slowly sink to the back of the field and scrap it out over the lower positions during a race.

8. Williams

It might be a bit cruel to put Williams below a certain team yet to be mentioned, but out of all the ten teams, Williams had the most issues around reliability which is enough to keep it in eighth place. Once everything came together on day three of the test, it looked positive for the team who continue to slowly creep their way off the bottom of the field. However, those early-day gremlins should be of concern, especially given the test was unusually reliable for everyone in attendance. Still, positive signs are there for the team in 2024.

7. Alpine

If you were to rank this purely on levels of expectation, then Alpine would firmly be at the bottom of the list. The problems are clearly there to be seen. The team ran the third lowest amount of laps, was the second slowest car through the speed trap and overall the car looked a handful to drive. Added to the issues around weight and the fact that upgrades are set to be brought in earlier than anticipated, things are not well in the French squad. However a year ago the same things were being said about McLaren, and we all know what happened by the end of the season. A team this well-funded will get its act together, just when that will be, who knows? So for now, I’m comfortable putting them at the top of the lower teams, but only just.

6. RB

The ultimate middle car of the field right now, Team RB (no I’m not saying the rest of their rubbish name) showed good pace and good form to put them in a solid position heading into 2024. Can they surprise with some performances that will warrant a sneaky podium or two? Maybe. But the car that many dub a ‘Red Bull clone’ looks set to be a solid points scorer, at least in the early races, which of course is great for any Daniel Ricciardo fan out there.

(Photo by Mario Renzi/Getty Images)

5. Aston Martin

While there were no headline-grabbing laps or performance breakthroughs that came 12 months ago, Aston Martin still looks likely to be in a solid position heading into 2024. Fernando Alonso impressed with the long-run pace on the final day, and the team seems to be happy with the performance of the car which they say is an improvement on all the issues it faced in the back half of 2023. It’s a tough one to separate them and McLaren, and it will be intriguing to watch that battle play out in the opening few races.

4. McLaren

There are much better signs for McLaren fans heading into 2024 than there were into 2023. And while there are still issues with the car that perhaps won’t see it right at the front like some expected, there seems to be enough there to give the team the position it wants to build on. And knowing how quickly things changed for the team last season when the upgrades were brought in, that could be an ominous sign for the rest of the field in 2024.

3. Mercedes

This was the first pre-season test in a long time that Mercedes left somewhat happy. The car looked good in long runs, and there were signs that it was ahead of Ferrari in many aspects. However, it wasn’t all good news, with technical director James Allison saying there was still work to be done on the car to get it fully up to pace. Both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell though seem decently pleased, giving the team a good starting point to enter the season.

2. Ferrari

Ferrari are clearly the team to beat… when it comes to second place in the Championship that is. It was a great test for the Scuderia, not just from topping the timesheets, but overall with their long-run pace looking promising as well. Both Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc were happy with the performance of the car, and Team Principal Fred Vasseur also sang the praises of the SF-24. Will it be capable of beating Red Bull? Probably not. But at least we have a car that will be ready to pick up on any misfortunes that may fall the defending champ’s way.

1. Red Bull

The scary thing about the analysis coming from Bahrain was that many people believed Red Bull were holding back and didn’t show their true potential across the three days. Given how good the new car looked, that is a big warning sign for the 2024 field. There were competitive laps in both the short and long runs, the team produced the third highest amount of laps with no issues reported across all 391 of them, and the head-turning additions to the RB20 only added spectacle to a car that wasn’t expected to differ much from the dominant RB19. Safe to say that if you’re not a Red Bull fan, 2024 is going to be another long season.

(Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Do you agree with these rankings? Which ones would you change? Stay tuned after every race this season as I bring back the power rankings in my post-race talking points!

This article was originally written for The Roar. You can read the published version here


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