RED BULL RAC|NG Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez

Won 21 of 22 races last year, with Verstappen bagging 19 victories to take his third consecutiv­e world championsh­ip. The only weak point is Perez’s contributi­on, which must improve.

MERCEDES-AMG Lewis Hamilton, George Russell

Finished second last year despite a capricious car, leading to fundamenta­l design changes. The outfit has the drivers and pedigree, but it may be too early to challenge Red Bull consistent­ly.

SCUDER|A FERRAR| Charles Leclerc, Carlos Sainz

Seven pole positions last year but only one win showed Ferrari’s race-pace weakness. |f the major shift of car concept pays o„ and consistenc­y improves it will more regularly threaten Red Bull.

McLAREN RAC|NG Lando Norris, Oscar Piastri

Leapt from backmarker to podium regular during 2023, leading to confidence that big developmen­t gains have been made. That and an exciting driver line-up could see McLaren threatenin­g for wins.

ASTON MART|N Fernando Alonso, Lance Stroll

Faded badly after a strong start in 2023, so it’s a coin-toss whether it’s at the front of the midfield this year. Will be dependent on the evergreen Alonso.

ALP|NE Pierre Gasly, Esteban Ocon

Perennial underachie­vers were mired firmly in the midfield last year, despite lofty aspiration­s. Expect more of the same in 2024, but with the occasional big result for these mercurial drivers.

W|LL|AMS RAC|NG Alex Albon, Logan Sargeant

Finished seventh in the championsh­ip thanks to Alex Albon’s remarkable performanc­es, but F1’s sleeping giant still needs more time – and money spent – to awaken, so expect more of the same for the foreseeabl­e.

RAC|NG BULLS Yuki Tsunoda, Daniel Ricciardo

Rallied late last year to become a top-10 regular and now forging closer ties with Red Bull Racing. Ricciardo will get the attention, but the temperamen­tal Tsunoda was quicker last year.

STAKE/SAUBER Valtteri Bottas, Zhou Guanyu

Sauber-owned, the name change from Alfa Romeo to Stake will tide the team over until it becomes Audi in 2026. Anything better than another mostly anonymous season would be a surprise.

HAAS Nico Hulkenberg, Kevin Magnussen

Fast over a lap but slow over a race stint meant a dismal 2023 that led to the departure of charismati­c team boss Guenther Steiner – where will those Netflix producers go for their colour now? Expect more disappoint­ment in 2024, sadly.

 ?? ?? 24-race season starts on 2 March in Bahrain
24-race season starts on 2 March in Bahrain

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