Red Bull - 2024 Bahrain Pre Season Test
F1 Pre-Season Testing Concludes: We Know That We Know Nothing
Formula One

Day three of the 2024 pre-season test session has concluded, and one aspect remains clear: we know that we know nothing. During an F1 pre-season test, the official qualifying lap time serves as a benchmark, which, in this case, stands at 1:29.662 for the Sakhir Race Circuit. If any team approaches or exceeds the official pole lap time, we gain an indication of who possesses the fastest car. However, no team managed to surpass last year’s qualifying time, indicating a reluctance to reveal their full potential too soon.

Therefore, I will have to rely on eyewitness accounts and personal statements to gain insight. Lewis Hamilton and George Russell have made positive comments that the Mercedes W15 is significantly improved compared to its W14 predecessor. However, determining the exact time gained is impossible. Is the W15 three-tenths quicker or half a second slower than the Red Bull?

As for Red Bull, they have been methodically progressing through their test program. Verstappen set the fastest time on day one of testing, but it wasn’t considered a benchmark time; rather, it served as a marker. However, rival teams and drivers estimate that Red Bull is a second per lap quicker, which doesn’t bode well for the 2024 season. Verstappen reports that the RB20 is even better than the championship-crushing RB19.

It seems McLaren has a nervous car, while Aston Martin’s position is uncertain at the moment. Traditionally, Aston Martin tends to be competitive, often competing closely with Mercedes and Ferrari. However, Fernando Alonso’s presence provides Aston Martin with an additional performance boost upon which the team relies.

Regarding Ferrari, they possess a fast car for single-lap performance. However, during races, the tires tend to degrade quickly, indicating a fundamental chassis flaw that Ferrari needs to address. Have they gleaned any lessons from last year, or will they merely repeat the pattern of being fast in qualifying but struggling during the race?

The remaining teams are essentially lining up where they were last season. However, the pivotal question remains: which team has developed the fastest car? If I were to venture a guess, I’d say Red Bull. Yet, Mercedes and Ferrari must make a significant leap forward if they intend to challenge Red Bull in 2024.

Next week, we will finally know which team possesses the dominant car during qualifying for the opening race of the season, for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Red Bull - 2024 Bahrain Pre Season Test
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