F1 Testing 2024 Day 1: Highlights, fastest times, laps completed

Follow the action as F1 teams and drivers test their 2024 challengers at Bahrain International Circuit, February 21-23


Welcome to our live blog for the 2024 Formula 1 pre-season testing, coming to you directly from the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, Bahrain. As the F1 teams roll out their latest machines on the track from February 21-23, we’re here to bring you all the action, insights, and analyses in real-time.

Pre-season testing is a pivotal moment in the F1 calendar, offering a first glimpse of the new cars in action and setting the tone for the season ahead. With only 24 hours of track time spread across three days, every moment is crucial for the teams and drivers alike. This year, the testing unfolds under the watchful eyes of fans and experts, eager to decode the performance and reliability of the 2024 contenders.

The Bahrain International Circuit, with its combination of high-speed stretches, tight corners, and challenging braking zones, provides the perfect backdrop for this critical phase of pre-season preparations. Teams will be pushing their new machines to the limit, looking to ensure reliability, gather valuable data, and, of course, hint at their pace.

Stay tuned as we bring you the latest from the track, offering a window into the preparations, strategies, and early indications of what to expect for the thrilling 2024 F1 season.

Formula 1 Testing 2024 – Day 1as it happened

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Goodbye for now!

Well that’s that here for today, but don’t forget Total-Motorsport.com as we’ll be bringing more reaction and analysis throughout the evening.

And then we’ll be back tomorrow to do it all again, so do tune in at 7AM UK time on Thursday for Day 2 of F1 pre-season testing, and Friday to see all the rest of the pre-season action.

Williams woes

Williams were the clear losers of the day – though McLaren showed in 2023 that where you start in testing can be far from where you finish the season.

Their drivers completed the 17th and 18th-most laps out of 18 drivers, and they barely crossed the threshold for a full race distance combined – only two other drivers failed to pass the 57-lap mark individually.

But despite missing close to two hours due to mechanical issues, Sargeant’s brief cameo in the FW46 showed there is pace in the car, we’ll find out how much over the next two days.

Ominous signs?

It’s as big a margin as we’ve seen at least in recent times in testing, but all the other presumed frontrunners weren’t pushing hard at the end of the session and we need to wait until at least Friday to see anything like everyone’s true pace.

However, it’s clear that Red Bull have at least got their new concept working, so now it’s over to Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes, Aston Martin and the rest to see what they’ve got up their sleeves.

On top

Max Verstappen was the clear man to beat on the opening day.

Final results

And here’s how they finished up on the end of day one:

1.Max VerstappenRed Bull1:31.662143
2.Lando NorrisMcLaren+1.14073
3.Carlos SainzFerrari+1.24069
4.Daniel RicciardoRB+1.25552
5.Pierre GaslyAlpine+1.46161
6.Lance StrollAston Martin+1.66354
7.Charles LeclercFerrari+1.90364
8.Fernando AlonsoAston Martin+2.04177
9.Oscar PiastriMcLaren+2.31457
10.Zhou GuanyuSauber+2.52763
11.Logan SargeantWilliams+2.53821
12.George RussellMercedes+2.765122
13.Yuki TsunodaRB+2.79264
14.Valtteri BottasSauber+3.08768
15.Alex AlbonWilliams+3.24340
16.Esteban OconAlpine+3.33360
17.Kevin MagnussenHaas+4.34866
18.Nico HulkenbergHaas+4.56282

Chequered flag

And that’s it for it for today folks! Everyone’s headed back out for the end of the session but the timed laps are over the day and it’s that man atop the standings once again. Stay with us as we’ll have results and reaction up next.

Final countdown

We’re into the final few minutes today, but it’d be a surprise if anyone was to improve dramatically. Gasly’s been the highest riser in the last hour and is fifth as he pushes for one last lap.

More Stroll trouble

More debris fell off Stroll’s car on the main straight and it took cat-like reactions from Daniel Ricciardo to avoid it. Unfortunately he was followed by one of the few drivers older than the Australian and Nico Hulkenberg plowed straight over it.

Lockup for Stroll

The Canadian’s had a huge lock up going into turn 10, with his car looking very fetching with green flo-vis paint on the Aston Martin livery. Stroll effectively straightline the corner into the runoff, but appearars to have stayed out on track so far.

Verstappen goes even quicker

It’s the outcome no neutrals wanted, but Verstappen is now a full second ahead of Lando Norris in second. He’s not been pushing for a while either but it’s a pretty terrifying gap even if it’s just 25% accurate.

Ricciardo keeps pushing

Verstappen‘s headed back out onto the track with some medium tyres, so expect that headline time to come under pressure in the closing stages. Russell’s also out but on the hardest rubber, but it’s Daniel Ricciardo who’s been working the hardest and has got his gap to third-placed Sainz down to just 0.015 seconds.

However, the Spaniard hasn’t had a push lap for hours.

Sargeant’s day done?

Williams are still beavering away on the FW46 but the pitwall’s almost empty and it looks like his day could be done. Between that and Albon’s fuel pump issue in the morning, the team have lost at least 90 minutes to mechanical problems.

Still, it’s not their worst testing in the past few years… If you’ve not seen THAT awkward interaction between Claire Williams and Paddy Lowe in 2019 then check it out.

Quiet track

There’s still five cars running but as Sainz crosses the line six seconds down on Verstappen’s time, no one seems to be pushing for headline times. Hopefully we get some more hot laps before the end of the day, with 40 minutes left.

Gasly comes to play

He’s finally put the C3s on, and has immediately jumped up to 11th just behind Sargeant. Meanwhile, there’s a bit of a battle going on between Russell and Verstappen with the Merceeds’ DRS popping open.

Winners and losers

We’ll have plenty of reaction and analysis coming up after the session and there’s still plenty of scope for the timesheets to flip in the final hour.

But as Ricciardo runs wide on a push lap that prevents him moving up the standings, RB appear to have been a winner today, showing there is substance to the hype around their new partnership with Red Bull.

McLaren and Ferrari have also shown well but appear well behind Red Bull so far, and Sauber have seemed promising too as Zhou continues to pound round the circuit.

At the other end, Haas’ fears appear to have been confirmed and Mercedes have yet to show they’ve made a significant step forward.

As it stands – 1 hour to go

And here’s how the timesheets look as we go into the last hour of the day…

1.Max VerstappenRed Bull1:31.662119
2.Lando NorrisMcLaren+0.82247
3.Carlos SainzFerrari+0.92248
4.Daniel RicciardoRB+1.28429
5.Lance StrollAston Martin+1.41226
6.Charles LeclercFerrari+1.58564
7.Fernando AlonsoAston Martin+1.72377
8.Oscar PiastriMcLaren+1.99657
9.Zhou GuanyuSauber+2.20936
10.Logan SargeantWilliams+2.22021
11.George RussellMercedes+2.44792
12.Yuki TsunodaRB+2.47464
13.Valtteri BottasSauber+2.76968
14.Alex AlbonWilliams+2.92540
15.Esteban OconAlpine+3.01560
16.Kevin MagnussenHaas+4.03066
17.Nico HulkenbergHaas+4.24452
18.Pierre GaslyAlpine+4.75350

Alpine check

About half the drivers are out on track right now, including Pierre Gasly who remains rooted to the bottom of the timesheets. Last year Alpine ran a very unorthodox run plan where they were completely unfocused on headline times, but they went on to finish sixth in the constructors’ championship – down from fourth in 2022 and fired everyone short of the tea lady from Enstone. Yet once again, they’re not pushing the pace with Esteban Ocon’s morning time down to 15th now.

Meanwhile Verstappen took another run at pushing his fastest time further out of reach but momentarily lost control in the final sector (after going purple in sector 2) and crosses the line two-tenths down.

The gloves are on

But not for Sargeant, he’s stepped out of his car as it looks like some longer-term work for the Williams mechanics. Verstappen’s back out though, he currently tops the timesheets by over eight-tenths from Norris.

More trouble for Williams

That Sargeant charge has been halted in dramatic fashion, he appears to have suffered a gearbox issue as he accelerated out of turn eight. There’s a Mercedes powertrains engineer waiting for him at the Williams garage as he returns, on-track Norris is out for another stint on the C3 mediums with former teammate Daniel Ricciardo sat in his slipstream.

Back on track

Loganwatch sees the American up to tenth place on a much better lap – though in fairness it couldn’t have been much worse than the last one – and that puts him ahead of George Russell. The Mercedes man is the lowest of last season’s frontrunning drivers and hasn’t set a lap in anger since early on in the session, will he mount another charge in the last 90 minutes?

Darkness falls

The sun is very close to setting now, and Sargeant is back on track looking to bounce back from that spincident (copyright). Daniel Ricciardo’s moved up to fourth with Lance Stroll also breaking into the top five, otherwise it’s as you were.

Sargeant in a spin!

Logan Sargeant has had the biggest incident of the session so far, he flew off the track at turn nine leaving a serious set of skid marks on the tarmac but luckily staying out of the wall. He’s immediately back to the garage on tyres that probably look more like 50p coins right now, we’ll bring you the video of that if we can.

Fastest lap

Of course Verstappen waits for that update before putting in a stonking fastest lap, 0.822 seconds ahead of Norris. Russell pulled out of his garage to attempt to challenge that but then ran right back through the pitlane so we’ll have to wait a bit longer to see what he can do.

Max Versatappen in the Red Bull RB20 during F1 testing | @F1/X.com

How it stands at the halfway stage

And with two hours gone, two hours to go here’s the latest timesheet:

1.Lando NorrisMcLaren1:32.48417
2.Max VerstappenRed Bull+0.06494
3.Carlos SainzFerrari+0.10032
4.Charles LeclercFerrari+0.76364
5.Daniel RicciardoRB+0.84114
6.Fernando AlonsoAston Martin+0.90177
7.Oscar PiastriMcLaren+1.17457
8.Zhou GuanyuSauber+1.38715
9.George RussellMercedes+1.62564
10.Yuki TsunodaRB+1.65264
11.Lance StrollAston Martin+1.70810
12.Valtteri BottasSauber+1.94768
13.Alex AlbonWilliams+2.10340
14.Esteban OconAlpine+2.19360
15.Logan SargeantWilliams+2.95414
16.Kevin MagnussenHaas+3.20866
17.Nico HulkenbergHaas+4.55429
18.Pierre GaslyAlpine+5.32522

Watch out Daniel…

The Honey Badger is hunting for… Whatever honey badgers hunt for, with Daniel Ricciardo putting in his first laps in anger. And what a lap it was too, he slotted into fifth including a purple final sector of 23.146s, he’s less than a tenth behind Leclerc too.

He’s comfortably the fastest driver from the tail-end teams of 2023, at half a second ahead of eighth-placed Zhou Guanyu.

Norris to the top!

We have a new leader! Lando Norris has topped the session on the C3 medium tyres, going 0.064 seconds ahead of Max Verstappen and a tenth quicker than Sainz. McLaren started the session worryingly with work on the car running into the first hour of the afternoon but they look set to be top at the half-way stage.

Shining bright

Sauber have had a great first day in their highighter-green cars – it’s certainly hard to miss them. Zhou’s just passed George Russell, moving up to seventh and only a couple of tenths behind Piastri.

Shadows lengthening

It doesn’t seem long since the sun was beating down on the track and no team wanted to venture out into the high heat. However, already the sun is starting to sink and much of the circuit is already in shadow – really all of the second half of the circuit.

Lando Norris certainly likes it, he’s shot up to third at half a second behind Verstappen while Sainz is within hundredths of the Dutchman.

Sarge hits the track

And that’s a full set for today folks! Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez weren’t set to take to track until tomorrow but Logan Sargeant has left his garage for the first time. He only ran two laps though before returning, Stroll and Ricciardo’s lap count also remains in the single figures but the Canadian looks to be on a more aggressive run plan now on the C3 tyres.

Where are Alpine?

Not literally, they’re up to 73 laps now as Pierre Gasly continues to pump in the laps on the hardest C1 tyre. But they took a major step back in 2023 and seemingly remain under pressure from RB in 2024. Esteban Ocon ran into the gravel earlier but Gasly looks happy in the car so far, Zhou’s also just shot up the order to eighth – just half a tenth ahead of Valtteri Bottas.

Standings – 3 hour to go

Here’s how the timesheets look with just over an hour gone of this afternoon’s session:

1.Max VerstappenRed Bull1:32.54880
2.Charles LeclercFerrari+0.69964
3.Fernando AlonsoAston Martin+0.83777
4.Carlos SainzFerrari+8.3821
5.Oscar PiastriMcLaren+1.11057
6.George RussellMercedes+1.56159
7.Yuki TsunodaRB+1.58864
8.Valtteri BottasSauber+1.88368
9.Alex AlbonWilliams+2.03940
10.Esteban OconAlpine+2.12960
11.Kevin MagnussenHaas+3.14466
12.Lando NorrisMcLaren+3.2337
13Pierre GaslyAlpine+5.26111
14.Nico HulkenbergHaas+5.44817
15.Zhou GuanyuSauber+5.9004
16.Daniel RicciardoRB+6.0743
17.Lance StrollAston MartinNone2
18.Logan SargeantWilliamsNone0

All but one

Lance Stroll is now out on the C3 medium tyres, meaning Sargeant is the only driver who hasn’t left the garage an hour into the session. The Williams mechanics are busy on his car, Sainz is still the only driver to get within a second of Verstappen’s benchmark time so far.

Albon explains early issue

Alex Albon has his feet up this afternoon as Logan Sargeant takes the reins – though he’s not actually set a time yet – but told Sky Sports why he pulled up at the end of the first session:

“It was ok, it’s windy out there, hot so not always the nicest conditions but realtively smooth. Had a few issues at the end of the session but all fixed now, just trying to understand the car.

“It was a fuel pump issues so the car goes into safety mode pretty quickly.”

Russell goes sixth

George Russell has set the first benchmark of the session, crossing the line 1.561 seconds behind Verstappen’s time from earlier. He’s the only afternoon runner to break the top 10, it was a mostly smooth lap notwithstanding a little slide at turn 13.

Question marks continue at Ferrari

Sainz continues to wrestle with the Ferrari, with Ricciardo and Hulkenberg now out on track. RB are one of the more intriguing teams this season given their close ties with Red Bull but Ricciard’s first lap is 4.5 seconds slower than Tsunoda this morning.

Trouble at McLaren

McLaren had the floor off the car earlier, and a concerned Norris is looking on as they continue to work on the MCL38. On-track, Pierre Gasly and Max Verstappen have both taken to track but neither driver has set a competitive time yet.

Russell heads out

This is not a drill, this is not a drill. George Russell has put the C3 medium tyres on, after also running in the morning session, he doesn’t appear to have any aero rakes or flo-vis paint on.

Empty track

Sainz is back in and we’ve got an empty track once more. He put in three timed laps at 6-8 seconds off Verstappen’s session-leading pace from earlier.

Understatement of the day

Aston Martin were the story of the testing last year, and Fernando Alonso put in a solid morning session today. Lance Stroll is yet to hit the track – he hasn’t been pre-season testing since 2022 as he missed all of last season’s through injury – but did enjoy some time in the car on Aston’s shakedown test earlier this month. Mike Krack may have already landed the understatement of the test though, describing that test at Silverstone as ‘a bit colder than today’.

It’s currently 9 degrees Celsius at Silverstone, cloudy with a hint of rain, compared to 23 degrees in Bahrain with bright blue skies.

Hairy moment for Sainz

The Ferrari looked a bit of a handful for Charles Leclerc in the morning and Sainz appears to be finding the same hairiness. He ran wide at turn 11 at the end of the back straight, and also had a moment at turn 13 – while Leclerc was wrestling with the SF-24 in the first sector earlier.

We have a car!

And as predicted, it’s Carlos Sainz first up for Ferrari. He’s running aero rakes behind his rear tyres – that’s the C2 hard rubber too.

Wind picks up

How do you blog an F1 session with no F1 cars? We’ve still not seen anyone head out on track in the first five minutes of the session with the teams at various stages of readiness – Carlos Sainz appeared to be making his final preparations before stepping into the SF-24 but Logan Sargeant’s Williams has its nose off and the engineers working away, as is the case at Alpine. BREAKING NEWS though: It’s getting windier!

Green light

And we’re underway for this afternoon! And… No one’s moved so far. It’s crickets in the pitlane for now, Mercedes and Williams are the teams with the most ground to make up as the only ones not to complete a race distance this morning.

Driver changes

Only Mercedes and Red Bull have stuck with the same driver from the morning session, meaning our line-up this afternoon is: Max Verstappen, Carlos Sainz, George Russell, Pierre Gasly, Lando Norris, Zhou Guanyu, Lance Stroll, Nico Hulkenberg, Daniel Ricciardo, Logan Sargeant.

Welcome back

We’re just a few minutes away from the afternoon session getting underway, as teams make their final preparations following the four hours this morning.

Lunchtime in F1

Now it’s time for a quick break, but don’t worry we’ll be back for the afternoon session which begins at Midday UK time.

Final morning testing results

1Max VerstappenRed Bull1:32.54866
2Charles LeclercFerrari+0.69964
3Fernando AlonsoAston Martin+0.83777
4Oscar PiastriMcLaren+1.11057
5Yuki TsunodaRB+1.58864
6George RussellMercedes+1.68248
7Valtteri BottasSauber+1.88368
8Alex AlbonWilliams+2.03940
9Esteban OconAlpine+2.12960
10Kevin MagnussenHaas+3.14466

Morning session over!

This morning’s session has been primarily focused on collecting data and accumulating laps. It’s important not to over-interpret the results at this stage, except to note the remarkable reliability displayed by all cars, with the exception of Alex Albon’s Williams, which encountered a significant reliability issue.

Max Verstappen has notably improved, finishing a few tenths quicker than his best lap from the first day of last year’s testing. Fernando Alonso in the Aston Martin and Oscar Piastri in the McLaren both showed promising performances, enjoying the conditions and demonstrating a good balance throughout the session.

As the morning session concludes, Verstappen leads the timing sheets, followed by Charles Leclerc and Fernando Alonso. Albon’s session ended prematurely due to his car stopping on track with about 20 minutes remaining, necessitating its return to the garage.

Verstappen battles Leclerc on track

The season witnesses its first overtake as Max Verstappen skillfully slips into Charles Leclerc’s draft heading into Turn 1, executing a smooth pass on the inside of the Ferrari. Now, Leclerc is keen on shadowing Verstappen, likely assessing how his car performs in the wake of another.

The pair have previously delivered some thrilling wheel-to-wheel battles, and with 24 races ahead this season, fans are hopeful for more spectacular showdowns. Verstappen has been closely tailing Leclerc, experiencing the challenge of navigating through turbulent air. However, he quickly decides to make his move, overtaking Leclerc with ease on the inside.

Leclerc, for his part, doesn’t contest the move – understanding that this early in the season, it’s not the time for intense rivalries.

Red Bull cooling inlets

Sam Collins on F1TV: “Behind Verstappen’s head, there are two huge cooling inlets so Red Bull are taking in a huge amount of cooling air. At the launch, the team had covered these up. They have two conventional sidepod inlets, so they actually have triple cooling inlets, which we haven’t really seen before. This is crucial to making the Red Bull sidepod concept work.”

Alex Albon stops on track

The day’s first significant technical setback has occurred. Alex Albon experienced a loss of power while on the main straight. Fortunately, he managed to pull over to a safe location off the track, necessitating only a yellow flag instead of a red flag at this time.

Albon finds himself unable to restart, leading the marshals to swiftly remove the FW46 from the track, allowing the others to continue their sessions. With only twenty minutes remaining, this setback is particularly unwelcome for Williams.

The initial explanation from Williams attributes Albon’s halt to ‘a reliability issue.’ There’s speculation that it could be fuel-related, though fuel tests typically occur nearer to a session’s conclusion.

Live timings

1Max VerstappenRed Bull1:32.54857
2Charles LeclercFerrari+0.69952
3Fernando AlonsoAston Martin+0.83772
4Oscar PiastriMcLaren+1.26445
5Yuki TsunodaRB+1.58853
6Valtteri BottasSauber+1.88356
7Alex AlbonWilliams+2.03940
8Esteban OconAlpine+2.12954
9George RussellMercedes+2.35938
10Kevin MagnussenHaas+3.14454

Mercedes porpoising 

A challenging morning for Mercedes continues as slow-motion footage shows George Russell speeding down the main straight in his Mercedes with some porpoising issues on track. Porpoising, a significant talking point in 2022, saw teams grappling with the bumpy ride characteristic before eventually smoothing it out as the season progressed. However, in this era of ground-effect cars, it appears the current Mercedes setup has reintroducing some challenges on the circuit.

Into the final hour of the morning

As we enter the final hour of the morning session, it’s clear that the teams have had a fruitful start to the day. Despite encountering some expected early glitches and issues with the new cars, most teams have successfully logged over 30 laps. Mercedes are slightly behind but are expected to catch up shortly, while Red Bull umbrella impressively completed their first pre-season half-centuries along with Aston Martin.

Fernando Alonso completes race distance 

Alonso in the Aston Martin has been enjoying himself in testing thus far, and has done more than a complete Grand Prix – 57 laps in Bahrain – as the Spaniard has 61 laps under his belt. 

Alpine’s completely different car

Sky Sports F1’s Ted Kravitz: “The Alpine is a very tidy car. They have managed to take some weight out of the car, not least with not very much paint and stickers, and tidied up other bits including the changes at the rear they wanted to make. 

“The front of the car appears sensible as well, again with one of those fat noses. Why are we seeing more of those noses this year? I’ll try and find out.”

Ferrari making changes

Jolyon Palmer on F1TV: “It looks like Ferrari having been adding stiffness to the car all morning, making the SF-24 look visibly less and less compliant, with Charles Leclerc suffering a few moments out on track. I reckon they’ve found their upper limit of stiffness, and will now work on dialling it down as the day goes on.”

Russell back on track

Following an extended period in the garage, George Russell has resumed participation on the track. The Mercedes driver has completed only 22 laps, the fewest among all competitors. However, the team has indicated that the downtime off the track is not a cause for concern.

Number of laps with one hour to go

1Max VerstappenRed Bull51
2Charles LeclercFerrari38
3Fernando AlonsoAston Martin53
4Oscar PiastriMcLaren31
5Yuki TsunodaRB44
6Valtteri BottasSauber41
7Alex AlbonWilliams38
8Esteban OconAlpine42
9Kevin MagnussenHaas32
10George RussellMercedes24

Albon’s William’s gets the flow-vis treatment

Take a look at the extensive use of flow-vis paint by Williams on Albon’s car. It’s not an updated color scheme but rather Williams’ preference for orange paint, as opposed to the fluorescent yellow commonly used by other teams.

This flow-vis paint is applied to the cars for testing purposes and activates once the vehicles hit the track. The behaviour of the paint provides engineers with valuable insights into the airflow dynamics around the car.

Leclerc lock up

After a sensational first sector which has him up 0.2s on Verstappen, Charles Leclerc locked up his left front into Turn 8 and thus aborted the lap.

Fastest lap times… so far

  1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – 1:33.065
  2. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) – 1:33.247
  3. Fernando Alonso (Alpine) – 1:33.385
  4. Valtteri Bottas (Sauber) – 1:34.431
  5. Yuki Tsunoda (RB) – 1:34.487

Oscar Piastri sets time for McLaren

It’s taken almost two hours but Piastri has finally set a lap time. A 1:35.785 for the 22-year-old after 14 laps for the session as he sets about stringing a few laps together on the C3 tyre in a controlled-speed test for aero purposes.

Red Bull on medium C3 tyres

After running on harder tyres earlier in the session, Max Verstappen is now out on the C3 compound. He is over 2 seconds down on Fernando Alonso who has the fastest lap thus far, but that is blown out the water and the Dutchman goes top of the timesheet by over 0.3s with a 1:33.065s

Red Bull’s new nose cone

Sky Sports F1’s Ted Kravitz: “On the nose cone, everyone was expecting that panel of carbon fibre to be a trick and to be removed and for there to be the join between the nose and the second plane of the front wing. Well, not so.

“That doesn’t mean it’s not there, they haven’t actually shown us what the real nose looks like. If it looks like that going into the race in a week’s time, I’d be surprised but nothing is impossible.

“The other question about the car has been – how are they cooling it? Where is the air going to go into the sidepods to cool the car? We have our answer. There is the vertical sidepod entry but actually there’s a hidden sidepod air intake just upstream of the O of Oracle on the sidepod. It’s even more buried [than last year].”

Ocon goes off

The first moment of testing sees Esteban Ocon going wide and bouncing over the gravel, but the Frenchman manages to keep the car pointed the right way and is back on track. 

Latest testing lap times

1Charles LeclercFerrari1:33.65815
2Fernando AlonsoAston Martin+0.16420
3Yuki TsunodaRB+1.17615
4Valtteri BottasSauber+1.67612
5Kevin MagnussenHaas+2.03417
6Max VerstappenRed Bull+2.33516
7Esteban OconAlpine+3.16514
8George RussellMercedes+3.73914
9Alex AlbonWilliamsNo time10
10Oscar PiastriMcLarenNo time7

Mercedes with an innovative front wing

The focus may have been on Red Bull’s cooling system, yet the Mercedes front wing is garnering significant attention as well. Mercedes has somewhat embraced a traditional approach in their design, sparking curiosity among numerous teams.

Notably, their wing features an end-plate taller than that of their competitors.

Sky Sports F1’s Ted Kravitz: “Hats off to their aero team for this piece of magic on the front wing. It’s a lovely idea and one of many on this new W15.

“What’s also true of Red Bull is also true of Mercedes. Had they just developed what was an okay car that would have been alright, but they had to find a second per lap.

“That’s the big question for me: is this new Mercedes a second a lap quicker than last year’s Mercedes? Is this new wing going to work? Are the rest of the ideas going to work as well? That we will need to find out.”

Red Bull break the mould again

The Red Bull RB20 is the talk of the paddock with it’s slim sidepod design which features a vertical inlet as many predicted following the launch.

Fernando Alonso fastest

In the early lap times it’s Fernando Alonso who tops the timesheet in the Aston Martin and sets the pace with a 1:34.334.

Morning drivers

  • Kevin Magnussen – Haas
  • Esteban Ocon – Alpine
  • Max Verstappen – Red Bull (all day)
  • Oscar Piastri (McLaren)
  • George Russell – Mercedes (all day)
  • Yuki Tsunoda (RB)
  • Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
  • Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin)
  • Valtteri Bottas (Sauber)
  • Alex Albon (Williams)

All 10 cars on track

McLaren are last out on track as Oscar Piastri leaves the garage. Plenty of eyes on the car which was shrouded in secrecy during launch season.

Aero rakes everywhere

One of the F1 testing staples is the aero rake which teams bolt onto either side of their car to measure airflow.

And testing is go!

George Russell in the Mercedes is the first driver out on track in Bahrain. Aston Martin have sent Alonso out and Max Verstappen in the Red Bull is also out the garage.

Testing is not just about clocking the fastest times. With teams making significant changes over the winter break, the focus will be on reliability, aerodynamics, and getting a real sense of how the cars perform on the track compared to the wind tunnel and simulation predictions.

From the use of flow-vis paint and aero rakes to the strategic management of limited mileage, every aspect of testing is geared towards optimizing performance for the 2024 season opener, also in Bahrain, on March 2.

As we dive into the heart of F1 pre-season testing, keep an eye out for innovative design tweaks, watch for the teams’ ability to adapt and overcome challenges, and listen for whispers of sandbagging as teams may hold back their full potential until the races begin.

F1 Testing 2024 – Day 1 Driver Line-ups

TeamDriver (AM)Driver (PM)
Red BullMax VerstappenMax Verstappen
FerrariCharles LeclercCarlos Sainz
MercedesGeorge RussellGeorge Russell
AlpineEsteban OconPierre Gasly
McLarenOscar PiastriLando Norris
SauberValtteri BottasZhou Guanyu
Aston MartinFernando AlonsoLance Stroll
HaasKevin MagnussenNico Hulkenberg
RBYuki TsunodaDaniel Ricciardo
WilliamsAlex AlbonLogan Sargeant

F1 Pirelli tyre testing 2024

Pirelli provides 35 sets of slick tyres per team, and each team can select and fit 30 sets (including two sets of intermediate tyres and two sets of full wet tyres, if required).

When is F1 testing 2024?

F1 2024 pre-season testing will run for three days from February 21-23, before it’s lights out for the Bahrain GP on March 2.

The action each day will begin at 10:00 local time and finish at 19:00, so teams will get well over an hour on track after the sun sets to simulate grand prix conditions too.

For UK viewers, that means watching 7:00-16:00 from Wednesday to Friday, with an hour’s shutdown for lunch each day too.

Where is F1 pre-season testing 2024?

Since 2023, Sakhir is the only location used for F1 pre-season testing after F1 officials decided to move away from the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and use the Bahrain International Circuit.

Recently, it has been used as a testing venue due to almost certain dry conditions and warmer weather in the winter, which is more representative than the conditions in Barcelona.

The sun sets at around 17:30 local time – Bahrain is three hours ahead of the UK – so teams will get around 90 minutes of night-time running that will best simulate conditions for the 2024 Bahrain GP.

How to watch F1 pre-season testing 2024?

Sky Sports F1 have secured the rights to show every minute of testing from Bahrain as part of their exclusive coverage agreement, which runs until 2029 in the UK.

As has often been the case in previous years, Sky’s commentary will combine with F1 Media for commentating and reporting duties due to the long-running sessions.

Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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