Beyond Verstappen: 10 Bold Predictions For The 2024 F1 Season

Beyond Verstappen: 10 Bold Predictions For The 2024 F1 Season

Okay, everyone knows who will win the championship, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be plenty of Formula 1 talking points this season.

Lewis Hamilton leaving Mercedes, Haas showing Guenther Steiner the door, and Formula rejecting Michael Andretti—Formula 1 may already have delivered its biggest 2024 surprises and it’s still February.

But what else could feasibly happen through the next 10 months? Autoweek proffers up some bold predictions.

Sergio Perez Stumbles; Title Won’t Be Easy for Red Bull

Max Verstappen is a shoe-in for a fourth successive world title and few should be surprised if he wraps up another crown prior to the last round.

Sergio Perez’s lack of form through 2023 didn’t cost Red Bull in the grand scheme of things but if he doesn’t up his game then a closer competitive landscape could prove costly. Out-of-contract Perez needs a strong start—and favorite track Baku being shifted later in the year doesn’t help—to ward off the vultures. There’s little loyalty with the Bulls if you aren’t winning.

Four Teams Will Win Races in 2024

Only two teams won a race in 2023 and they were split rather unevenly, with Red Bull taking a record 21 wins, and Ferrari pocketing one when the Bulls slipped up. This is more out of hope than any judgment, but there’s every chance a resurgent Mercedes and Ferrari will triumph, and McLaren will re-join the winners’ enclose

Daniel Ricciardo Will Put RB on the Podium

The rebranded RB team is ostensibly on the up. It is forming a greater alliance with parent company Red Bull, has refreshed its management, and history suggests its results improve the longer the sport gets into a regulatory cycle.

It also has a rejuvenated and refreshed Daniel Ricciardo, reinvigorated after his lackluster McLaren spell, and eager to grasp his second shot. RB is unlikely to finish top half of the standings but Ricciardo will grab a podium in an attritional race.

Remember, this is a team that took podiums in 2019 and 2021, and won a race in 2020.

Hamilton Will Become F1’s Oldest Winner in 3 Decades

 

It seems scarcely believable, but seven-time champion Hamilton is 40 next January, by which time he’ll be dressed in the scarlet red of Ferrari.

He hasn’t won a Grand Prix in two years, but that owes much to Mercedes’ limitations rather than any decline in his own ability. In that timeframe Hamilton has finished runner-up nine times, taken seven thirds, and snatched a pole position.

An eighth title will likely remain elusive, but expect Hamilton to become F1’s oldest race winner since 1994 this season.

Major F1 Youth Movement on the Horizon

Several of Formula 1’s top drivers are only in their mid-20s but there are a handful of exciting young talents lurking on the horizon.

These things happen in cycles and the next one is looming, particularly after such a stagnant 2023-24 off-season. If the stars align the likes of Oliver Bearman (Haas maybe?) and Andrea Kimi Antonelli (Williams, or even Mercedes?) should both step up, while last year’s F2 champion Théo Pourchaire (Sauber?) and 2023 super sub Liam Lawson (RB?) could—and perhaps should—also land full-time drives.

Oscar Piastri Will Win Before Charles Leclerc This Season

Lando Norris has come close to winning. In fact, he has 13 podiums without climbing to the top step. That indicates his own ability, McLaren being close but not quite there, and Max Verstappen swiping all the opportunities away in 2023.

But Norris also has Oscar Piastri to contend with.

Piastri stole a slight march last year by grabbing a Sprint win—they don’t count for the record books—though still lagged behind his teammate in race pace. Piastri is still on a learning curve, but it will gradually flatten, and he now has a year’s data set under his belt.

F1 Will Add More Sprints for 2025

Formula 1 had three Sprints in 2021-22, and expanded it to six for 2023, which was maintained in 2024.

It still feels like a gradual softening to critics of the format, with Formula 1 regularly trumpeting their worth, and promoters allegedly overwhelmingly in support.

Don’t expect Formula 1 to go full MotoGP, which went from no sprint races to sprints at every event, but expansion to eight or 10 wouldn’t be a surprise, especially as expanding the calendar to 24 Grands Prix is a no-go for 2025.

Haas Won’t Finish in the Basement

 

Haas was last in 2021 and 2023, so don’t expect too much.

But it may have been the best worst team in Formula 1 history last season, and still had a car capable of regularly making the top 10—at least in qualifying.

Fixing its dire tire degradation in race trim is top of the agenda and the team is playing down its early-season chances, as new boss Ayao Komatsu installs his ethos on the squad. It won’t be an easy task, given the strength of the grid, but we’ll tip Haas to avoid last spot this time around.

Alpine Makes More Changes… Again

Alpine has had a difficult couple of years and the signs from pre-season testing were not promising.

Yes, it is braced for a slow start, but this is a team that has title-winning ambitions in the medium-term, and which is a works team. It is on its fourth team boss in five years and rarely goes through a season without a fundamental change of some sort.

If the A524 doesn’t deliver the step forward then expect more personnel reshuffles.

One Formula 1 Team Gets Sold

The value of Formula 1 teams has been growing and the rejection of the bid made by Michael Andretti, and increased partial buy-ins, reflects the shift towards a closed-shop franchise model.

But there are more than a couple of teams out there who would consider a change of ownership—either partially or fully—if the right offer came in.