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February 20, 2024
Hong Lau

F1 Season Begins - Back to Bahrain (2 minute read)

Mario, Princess Peach go on a new adventure in the animated film, Super Mario Brothers

It's the start of the F1 season as we head to Bahrain. This season feels a lot different than any others I've ever been a fan of before. When you look at it as a whole, there are so many changes and storylines that play into more sporting than it does entertainment. 

Some storylines we'll look at quickly:

  • Lewis' last year at Mercedes 
  • Red Bull going to make Mercedes look silly with their own design?
  • Did Mercedes finally get the car right after copying Red Bull's homework
  • How Does Christian Horner potentially affect the sporting aspect of Red Bull
  • Is McLaren actually a real contender
  • Will Ferrari finally put together a "Race" car?

Now, if we are being honest, there are more storylines, but these are the first ones that come to mind and are my favourites. 

Obviously, the biggest one is Lewis heading to Ferrari.

We can talk about all the other domino effects and things that come with it. But this year, I just want to focus on Lewis and "number 8". We can also combine our topic of whether Mercedes will finally get it right with their car. Lewis is 1B as a driver, in my opinion, and still a threat every time you give him a capable car.

I hope this year is filled with competition for his sake of enjoying his last year with Mercedes. I believe it'll be a tough year, but hopefully, all parties can come together and enjoy the "last dance." At the end of the day, he's the most successful driver on a sole team EVER, and that need not be taken lightly, and it's something to celebrate.

As per the CAR, it's a tough call. I believe that Mercedes is still the top team next to Red Bull. With the right design and the car, that can be a "championship contender." I believe that they can compete. The problem in the past two years is they never really had a car that responded the way they wanted to and was predictable. Both George Russell and Lewis felt the car was erratic at different points, with such small windows. With them copying Red Bulls homework and getting to put their own flair on it… gives me confidence that they'll be a force this year. 

 

Red Bull has made a bold statement by saying to Mercedes … let me one up you.

Red Bull has proclaimed that they will be going to a zero side pod design by Suzuka this year and have copied Mercedes inlets. It's going to be interesting to see what Adrian Newey can do with Mercedes's idea but his own implementation.

Is it safe to say he's the greatest innovator of F1 to date? I think that would be safe… James Allison is responsible for the W12, which was arguably the best car of all time, along with the RB19 that Adrian Newey was the mastermind behind. I have my own thoughts on Christian Horner's allegations… but what does it mean for the team if he were to walk away from Red Bull? First off, I think Adrian Newey is headed over to wherever Christian heads.

I think it would be a huge downfall in a competitive aspect for Red Bull. Christian Horner, for all my personal dislikes, is one of the best team principles in all of F1 history. Red Bull has apparently had their heir apparent, but I don't think it's enough. 

 

Last but not least is the "pretender" category. The biggest thing for all is whether they can compete. Ferrari had an INCREDIBLE car at its core in 2023, but it could never put it together for a complete race. It was incredibly quick on a hot lap.

Now, Ferrari has designed an entirely new car, so we don't know what they'll come up with, but I believe in Vasseur with the original team that designed the 2022 revamp car to put something together that will compete. As for McLaren… they are by far the most intriguing team of this year.

They have a lot of principles similar to the Red Bull car and are arguably the second fastest driver on the grid in Lando Norris, with their last year's performance towards the back half of the year. The car was incredibly quick and the second-best car on the track. With the lethal combination of those two things, McLaren should be the car to watch this year. 

Tomorrow is Bahrain…, and I'm BEYOND excited.