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Parc Ferme: 2024 F1 season nearly there…

Parc Ferme: 2024 F1 season nearly there…

Parc Ferme: 2024 F1 season nearly there…

Finally, the Formula 1 season kicks off with a three-day pre-season test at Bahrain’s Sakhir circuit. Well almost.

The circuit that will host the first Grand Prix of the season will only provide a marginal insight into who’s movin’ on up or movin’ on out in the F1’s team pecking order this week.

Smoke and Mirrors

Pre-season testing can be frustrating. For the teams, it’s often about trying to identify workarounds for the newly developed components that are not delivering. Or for Mercedes in 2022, the car et al.

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Unfortunately, the normal “BS’ometer” doesn’t work at this time of year due to its inability to cope with the incoming volume. The spin from the teams will be identical: the car feels good, and the data is promising.

However, I’ll be on the lookout for some candid camera shots inside the pit box and the team’s expressions. You know, the three D’s: disappointment, disbelief, and disdain.

Bullish

However, while I expect an even closer grid in terms of car performance for the other teams, I still anticipate the RB20 will be sitting comfortably at the top. If this year’s offering is only a tenth quicker than the rest of the grid, Max Verstappen’s current operational level will add at least another one to the mix.

Waltzing Matilda

In the spirit of “if you can’t win, beat your teammate”, I also anticipate the rise of a few “number twos” this season. First up has to be Oscar Piastri. I would not want to be in Lando Norris’ shoes this year. The upstaging already began in 2023 and I can only see it becoming more prominent.

Piastri’s big advantage over Norris is his “flapability” or lack of it. The young Aussie appears to be immune to pressure, something that could prove to be definitive over the season.

Mindfulness

Next up is Yuki Tsunoda. If he can control his aggression instead of giving in to it, (as he did in Yas at the season’s end), then it’s going to be a tough time for teammate, Daniel Ricciardo. It may sound silly, but Tsunoda would benefit from practicing some Zen yoga to reign in his proclivities. It didn’t do Michael Schumacher any harm.

St. George

With the news that his illustrious teammate, Lewis Hamilton, is departing to Ferrari at the end of the season, we could well see George Russell become the finished article. George certainly seemed more on top of the recalcitrant W14 at the end of last season.

However, I would not write off Hamilton just yet. Much, I feel, will depend on the nature of W15. If its unpredictability has been ironed out, I anticipate Hamilton will be underlining his number-one status.

Either way, the seven-time F1 World Champion will be feeling the hot breath of Russell on his neck now he knows he’ll be wearing the pips in 2026.

Certain bet

So, before placing any of my hard-earned money on any F1 outcomes, I’ll be waiting another week. The odds might be shorter, but I’m more likely to remain cash-positive.

However, I am thinking of placing a small wager on the likelihood that there will be a new Team Principal at Red Bull, whether the current incumbent deserves it or not.