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Five things we learnt during Bahrain’s F1 2024 preseason testing – Red Bull maintain huge advantage .



Here are the key takeaways from the 2024 F1 pre-season testing in Bahrain.


The pre-season testing in Bahrain provided an intense three days of on-track action, with drivers completing numerous laps around the Bahrain International Circuit to kick off the 2024 F1 season.


Red Bull showcased their aggressive approach with the RB20, as reigning champion Max Verstappen set the pace on the first day of testing.


While Red Bull showed early dominance, the competition among the other top teams was tight, with Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz leading on day two, followed closely by Sergio Perez of Red Bull and Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes.


Charles Leclerc topped the timesheets on the third and last day, while George Russell from Mercedes and Zhou Guanyu from Stake made impressive late-session pushes to secure second and third places respectively.


Key takeaways from the pre-season testing in Bahrain:


Red Bull continues to hold a significant lead

Their performance couldn’t have been any better, or could it? It appears that there is still room for improvement.


With discussions in the paddock revolving around Red Bull potentially having an advantage of up to 1.1 seconds, the reigning world champions must be feeling extremely optimistic at the moment.


Analysis of the pre-season test in Bahrain revealed that Charles Leclerc topped the timesheets on the final day, followed closely by George Russell from Mercedes and Zhou Guanyu from Stake.


The standout performance from Red Bull showcased a significant advantage, potentially up to 1.1 seconds faster than their competitors. With all eyes on Red Bull during the test, the focus was on their performance with a new approach compared to their previous dominant season. The investigation into team boss Christian Horner is still ongoing, but the outcome is expected before the Bahrain Grand Prix next weekend.


Red Bull continues to lead the pack, with Verstappen and Perez showcasing their speed during testing. Verstappen’s impressive timings on day one and day three, along with Perez’s strong performance on day two, solidify Red Bull’s position as the top team. Despite some challenges, such as Perez’s brake issue and uncertainties surrounding the new concept’s reliability, Red Bull remains the team to beat. The recurring issue of loose drain covers further highlights the need for improvements in safety measures.


The new street circuit seems like a more logical choice. However, the longstanding racetrack, with Bahrain celebrating its 20th year in F1, is not easily dismissed as just bad luck. F1 and FIA can only hope that there won’t be a third strike on raceday next Saturday.



1. Charles Leclerc – 1:30:322


2. George Russell – +0.046 secs


3. Zhou Guanyu – +0.325 secs


4. Max Verstappen – +0.433 secs


5. Yuki Tsunoda – +0.453 secs


6. Alex Albon – +0.662 secs


7. Oscar Piastri – +0.708 secs


8. Fernando Alonso – +0.837 secs


9. Carlos Sainz – +0.925 secs


10. Sergio Perez – +1.161 secs


Ferrari shows a promising improvement

The competition is fierce between Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes, and Aston Martin, but I predict Ferrari will be in second place going into the first race.


Particularly excelling in single-lap performance, Charles Leclerc showcased Ferrari’s positive progress last year, especially in qualifying. Despite the team’s history of driver frustration with the car, their key drivers are content for now.


Leclerc topped the timesheets on the final day, setting the tone for the first Grand Prix weekend, while Carlos Sainz led the way on day two. Sainz is determined to prove himself after his unexpected departure in 2025. Lewis Hamilton will be closely monitoring Ferrari’s developments, despite his own team’s challenges.


My top-five rankings post-testing are as follows: Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes, Aston Martin.


It’s clear that the team in question is RB – not Visa Cash App RB Formula 1 Team. The consensus leans towards Racing Bulls.


Red Bull’s sister team, previously known as AlphaTauri, underwent a makeover during the off-season, attracting two new sponsors and resulting in a rather unconventional and somewhat absurd team name.


Nevertheless, broadcasters and individuals within the paddock have settled on a simpler abbreviation, “RB,” which officially represents Racing Bulls.


Regardless, both Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda displayed impressive speed during the three-day test, potentially securing themselves a position as high as sixth on the starting grid, closely competing with Alpine.


This year, there is no shocking surprise. Aston Martin dominated discussions last year. Following a disappointing 2022 season that led to Sebastian Vettel losing faith in the project and retiring, the team’s fortunes were transformed within a few months thanks to the recruitment of former Red Bull aerodynamicists and the addition of Fernando Alonso.


The Aston relaunch was first hinted at during testing. Following that, Alonso emerged as the second fastest driver after the Red Bull duo, securing a podium finish in the initial race.


However, the early signs suggest that there won’t be any major surprises this year leading up to the 2024 season. In fact, based on a few changes, the final standings of 2023 might resemble the pecking order after testing.


Although a competitive midfield adds excitement, the main goal is to close the gap with Red Bull. Unfortunately, those hoping to see progress in testing may have been let down.