Formula One 2024: team-by-team guide to the cars and drivers

<span>Lewis Hamilton in his last season with Mercedes; Red Bull looking ominously strong; Carlos Sainz of Ferrari who was the only driver to deny Red Bull victory last term.</span><span>Composite: Guardian Picture Desk</span>
Lewis Hamilton in his last season with Mercedes; Red Bull looking ominously strong; Carlos Sainz of Ferrari who was the only driver to deny Red Bull victory last term.Composite: Guardian Picture Desk

Red Bull

Car RB20 Engine Red Bull Principal Christian Horner Debut Australia 2005 GPs 369 Titles 6 Last season 1st. Utterly dominant last year, a radical evolution of the car appears to have paid off with the intent to iron out its only weakness from 2023 in the slow corners. Looked ominously strong in testing and must be considered championship favourites but endured a pre-season marred by team principal Christian Horner’s investigation for inappropriate behaviour, which still hangs over the team and may yet have further impact.


Max Verstappen (Neth, age 26) No 1 Debut Australia 2015 Wins 54 Poles 32 Titles 3 Last season Champion. Imperious last year, including a run of 10 consecutive victories, Verstappen is in the form of his life, quick, almost flawless and consistent in a car that fits his driving style to perfection. The Dutchman shows no sign of weakness while he is not under pressure, a challenge to which it is hoped rivals will step up.

Sergio Pérez (Mex, 34) No 11 Debut Australia 2011 Wins 6 Poles 3 Titles 0 Best season finish 2nd Last season 2nd. Left floundering by his teammate last season, especially in some woeful qualifying, Pérez, out of contract for 2025, must prove himself to retain his seat. Just managed to secure second place last year but made a meal of it in a car that was head and shoulders ahead of the field. The best ride of his career hangs in the balance.


Car W15 Engine Mercedes Principal Toto Wolff Debut France 1954 GPs 293 Titles 8 Last season 2nd. Having struggled with a flawed design philosophy for two years, 2024 is a reset with an entirely new concept. Solid in testing with a strong baseline and better grip through the corners, it prompted optimism from the drivers but the team must also contend with adapting to losing Lewis Hamilton to Ferrari in 2025 and replacing him, which will be no small task.


Lewis Hamilton (GB, 39) No 44 Debut Australia 2007 Wins 103 Poles 104 Titles 7 Last season 3rd. Shocked the team by announcing the move to Ferrari but Hamilton is as motivated and as quick as ever. Has stated his commitment to give his all for Mercedes this year but if the car is not at least capable for fighting for wins (and he has not had a victory for two years now), he may well be looking forward to his debut with the Scuderia already.

George Russell (GB, 26) No 63 Debut Australia 2019 Wins 1 Poles 1 Titles 0 Best season finish 4th Last season 8th. Struggled last season after making an impressive debut for Mercedes in 2022. More is expected this year as he will step up when Hamilton departs. The improved car should suit him, and confidence and consistency will likely be rewarded for an undoubted talent as the British driver positions himself as team leader.


Car SF-24 Engine Ferrari Principal Frédéric Vasseur Debut Monaco 1950 GPs 1074 Titles 16 Last season 3rd. The new car has targeted addressing last year’s weaknesses in race pace, medium speed corners and ferocious tyre wear and in testing appeared to be the closest challenger to Red Bull. Both drivers have already pronounced it a vast improvement, while Vasseur is now settled, building the team structure around him with wins on the cards the least of his expectations.


Charles Leclerc (Mnc, 26) No 16 Debut Australia 2018 Wins 5 Poles 23 Titles 0 Best season finish 2nd Last season 5th. Qualified superbly in 2023 but let down in race pace and occasionally trying too hard to extract more than there was in the car. With an improved ride Leclerc can be expected to excel and if Ferrari can match Red Bull the Monegasque will have no fear of taking on Verstappen.

Carlos Sainz Jr (Sp, 29) No 55 Debut Australia 2015 Wins 2 Poles 5 Titles 0 Best season finish 5th Last season 7th. Sainz is to be replaced by Hamilton next year, and is making his case to another team in a competitive market. The only driver to deny Red Bull a win in 2023 the Spaniard deserves to be taken on, as he showed pace and composure last season in the win at Singapore and is capable of more as he matures as a driver.


Car MCL61 Engine Mercedes Principal Andrea Stella Debut Monaco 1966 GPs 946 Titles 8 Last season 4th. Continuing to enjoy a real renaissance under Stella, after last season’s turnaround they open with no little momentum. New wind tunnel and simulator facilities are now online, and are backed by some impressive technical signings and a formidable driver line-up. Now appear to be genuinely on course to the long-vaunted goal of rejoining the front three.


Lando Norris (GB, 24) No 4 Debut Australia 2019 Wins 0 Best race finish 2nd Poles 1 Titles 0 Best season finish 6th Last season 6th. Excelled in no short order as soon as McLaren delivered a decent car last season, Norris is still only improving. Spurred on by a genuinely competitive teammate he secured a hatful of podiums with some outstanding drives, not least when he took the lead at Silverstone. A debut win is without doubt within his grasp.

Oscar Piastri (Aus, 22) No 81 Debut Bahrain 2023 Wins 0 Best race finish 2nd Poles 0 Best qualifying 2nd Titles 0 Best season finish 9th Last season 9th. Delivered an exceptional rookie season in 2023, showing great maturity in dealing with the car when it was off the pace and then being able to step up and exploit it when the upgrades delivered. After a sprint-race win and with a season of understanding the tyres behind him, will only improve and is set for great things.

Aston Martin

Car AMR24 Engine Mercedes Principal Mike Krack Debut Netherlands 1959 GPs 71 Titles 0 Best finish 7th Last season 5th. Did not make the same giant leap forward in testing as last year but had a quick, well-balanced car that was an improvement on a lacklustre close to 2023. Another team whose new facilities are coming into play, while Krack is an astute operator who will expect at very least to be making a proper fight of the midfield battle and aiming for podiums.


Fernando Alonso (Sp, 42) No 14 Debut Australia 2001 Wins 32 Poles 22 Titles 2 Last season 4th. Proved the speed and desire are still there despite his advancing years, taking four podiums from five races to open last season. Having lost none of his touch or guile, Alonso remains a joy to watch and is as ambitious as ever as he is already eyeing a potential switch to Mercedes while Aston Martin will be enormously keen to hang on to him.

Lance Stroll (Can, 25) No 18 Debut Australia 2017 Best race finish 3rd Poles 1 Titles 0 Best season finish 10th Last season 10th. Where Alonso shone in a good car last year, his teammate flailed and foundered. Appeared to lack motivation and indeed interest, he qualified and scored poorly leaving the team helpless against a resurgent McLaren. Must do better to justify his place, even in a team owned by his father who cannot afford to carry a driver.


Car A524 Engine Renault Principal Bruno Famin Debut Bahrain 2021 GPs 66 Titles 0 Best finish 4th Last season 6th. Endured a torrid year behind the scenes in 2023 with a swathe of management changes including dismissing team principal Otmar Szafnauer. The five-year plan to return to winning ways looks unobtainable, especially after a disappointing testing, with an overweight car lacking pace and cornering ability. Far from joining the front, could be battling in the final third.


Esteban Ocon (Fr, 27) No 31 Debut Belgium 2016 Wins 1 Poles 0 Best qualifying 3rd Titles 0 Best season finish 8th Last season 12th. Already enjoying a feisty relationship with his France countryman and teammate Pierre Gasly, Ocon will be looking to come back from being beaten by him by four points last season. An outstanding third at Monaco last season proved he can still deliver and he is another driver who would want to make his case for a shot at Mercedes.

Pierre Gasly (Fr, 28) No 10 Debut Malaysia 2017 Wins 1 Poles 0 Best qualifying 2nd Titles 0 Best season finish 7th Last season 11th. Just as energised to take the fight to his teammate, Gasly is nonetheless clearly more at home with Alpine than he was as part of the Red Bull programme. He can still produce some striking drives but will be tested by a recalcitrant car in a febrile atmosphere. Sparks could fly sooner rather than later at Alpine.


Car FW46 Engine Mercedes Principal James Vowles Debut Spain 1977 GPs 810 Titles 9 Last season 7th. Vowles opened his first year as team principal more than creditably in 2023, taking the team with limited and, in some cases, hugely outdated resources, out of marking time at the back. The target remains a slow build back on track and in infrastructure and their car looks on course to continue that trend, with a realistic chance of being the best runner at the rear of the field.


Alexander Albon (Tha, 27) No 23 Debut Australia 2019 Wins 0 Best race finish 3rd Poles 0 Best qualifying 4th Titles 0 Best season finish 7th Last season 13th. Single-handedly led the Williams fight last year and was invaluable to the team. The troubled torment of his time at Red Bull appears long discarded and instead a confident, affable and astute driver is once more making his mark. Attitude and talent are perfect for what Williams require but they also mark him out as a potential target for a Mercedes coup.

Logan Sargeant (US, 23) No 2 Debut Bahrain 2023 Wins 0 Best race finish 21st Poles 0 Best qualifying 6th Titles 0 Best season finish 21st Last season 21st. After a torrid rookie season, Sargeant has a long way to go to prove he brings more to the team than financial backing. He was giving his all but too often his efforts ended in the wall, shunts costly in potential points and pounds that Williams can ill afford. Keeping it clean and consistent is the very least the team will expect in his second year.

Visa Cash App RB

Car VCARB01 Engine Red Bull Principal Laurent Mekies Debut Bahrain 2006 GPs 329 Titles 0 Best finish 6th Last season 8th. The team formerly known as Toro Rosso and AlphaTauri, now with the worst name in F1 history and who will henceforth be referred to as RB. It is a change in name only however but comes with making controversial closer ties to senior squad Red Bull in an attempt to escape midfield mediocrity. Testing suggests this has paid off already with regular points finishes the target.


Daniel Ricciardo (Aus, 34) No 3 Debut Britain 2011 Wins 8 Poles 3 Titles 0 Best season finish 3rd Last season 17th. Reinvigorated when drafted into the team mid-season in 2023, the Australian relished his chance to make a point after struggling at McLaren. Was sidelined by a broken bone in his hand but in the meantime gave a salutary reminder of his talent and will want to impress as the obvious candidate to replace Pérez should he underperform at Red Bull.

Yuki Tsunoda (Jpn, 23) No 22 Debut Bahrain 2021 Best race finish 4th Poles 0 Best qualifying 6th Titles 0 Best season finish 14th Last season 14th. Ended 2023 with a fine run in Abu Dhabi for eighth, the Japanese driver was given fresh impetus by Ricciardo’s arrival. The car is likely to be the best he has yet to be given in F1 and he has every chance to make an impression. Improving as a package year on year, out-performing Ricciardo would be no little achievement and invaluable for a team in a tight fight.

Stake Kick Sauber

Car C44 Engine Ferrari Principal Andreas Seidl Debut South Africa 1993 GPs 463 Titles 0 Best finish 2nd Last season 8th (as Alfa Romeo). Sponsor names aside this is effectively once more the Sauber team as it awaits Audi’s takeover as a works outfit in 2026. Seidl is very much preparing the team for that point but not marking time in doing so. Technical director James Key is on board from McLaren and made his presence felt in that there were positive noises from the drivers after testing. Consolidation rather than the great leap forward is expected.


Valtteri Bottas (Fin, 34) No 77 Debut Australia 2013 Wins 10 Poles 20 Best season finish 2nd Last season 15th. With the glory days of victories at Mercedes gone, Bottas has had an altogether tougher task over the last two years but it seems he has enjoyed it nonetheless. Now with Audi on the horizon the Finn is making his case to be retained for the works outfit from which great things are expected. Will be the team’s key asset for points and bringing on the car.

Zhou Guanyu (Chn, 24) No 24 Best race finish 8th Poles 0 Best qualifying 5th Titles 0 Best season finish 18th Last season 18th. Now in his third season Zhou has done enough to justify his place. Can be quick on occasion but equally prone to some misjudgements under pressure which he badly needs to eliminate. Sauber require solid consistency and error-free performances and Zhou should now be able to deliver as a relatively experienced driver.


Car VF-24 Engine Ferrari Principal Ayao Komatsu Debut Australia 2016 GPs 166 Titles 0 Best finish 5th Last season 10th. A transition for Haas as Komatsu takes over from Guenther Steiner, who had been in charge since the team was formed. With owner Gene Haas unhappy at the lack of progress Komatsu has a huge job. Last year’s car was hamstrung by its shocking tyre wear and solving this has been the central goal of this year’s model. Long runs suggest they are on the right track but incremental rather than revolutionary improvement is expected.


Kevin Magnussen (Den, 31) No 20 Debut Australia 2014 Best race finish 2nd Poles 1 Titles 0 Best season finish 9th Last season 19th. Magnussen, who was frustrated and struggled with the inherent performance limitations of last year’s car, is the last driver to want to tiptoe around a lap desperately trying not to chew up his rubber. Should be more at home this time round if the car is on course for improvement and is always feisty in a fight when he can compete.

Nico Hülkenberg (Ger, 36) No 27 Debut Bahrain 2010 Best race finish 4th Poles 1 Titles 0 Best season finish 7th Last season 16th. Brought a solid breadth of experience to the team alongside Magnussen and delivered. Could cope with the car’s limitations better and exploited its single-lap pace, not least in going second quickest in qualifying in Canada. A real asset as the team looks to build again, he too can be expected to have a better run this season.