Formula 1 cars, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2023

What each F1 team says they want from their new cars for 2024

Formula 1

Posted on

| Written by

We’re just a few days away from our first glimpse of the new cars for the 2024 Formula 1 season.

For all bar one of the teams, the objective for the championship ahead is clear: Cut their gap to the all-conquering Red Bulls, who dominated last season to an unprecedented extent. But each of them face different situations and require different things from their new cars.

But for Red Bull, the challenge they face is how to improve a car which already had precious few weaknesses, and do so with less development time than their rivals as a consequence of their latest championship triumph.

2023 F1 teams one-lap pace comparison

Red Bull were comfortably the quickest team throughout 2023. Over a single lap some teams were able to challenge them at times including McLaren, Mercedes and, most frequently, Ferrari. But their sustained pace over a race stint was seldom if ever matched by their rivals.

Data above based on five-race averages excluding the Belgian and Dutch grands prix due to the lack of good-quality dry weather data at those rounds

Red Bull

For the team which dominated the previous championship to an degree never before seen in Formula 1, there’s not much room for improvement. But the RB19 had one obvious shortcoming: It wasn’t as competitive at street circuits, especially Singapore, where the team suffered their only grand prix defeat of 2023.

George Russell, Mercedes, Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Singapore, 2023
Singapore was the only race Red Bull failed to win last year
“In general on street circuits I think we are a struggling a bit more, like in Vegas also,” admitted Max Verstappen, who won 19 grands prix last year.

“Low speed [performance] is definitely not our strongest point in the car. Bumps and kerbs as well. So that’s definitely a big area where we can improve.”

The analysis certainly holds: Verstappen came close to defeat in Las Vegas, too, and had Singapore Grand Prix winner Carlos Sainz Jnr not been spectacularly unlucky during practice there Red Bull would have had an even tougher fight on their hands.

The RB19 was consistently less competitive in qualifying than it was over a grand prix distance, too. But Verstappen knows when the points are handed out and won’t be too concerned by that.

Ominously, as the team needed to do little work on their 2023 car to dominate the championship, they had a head start on the RB20. “I think we know our weaknesses as well in the car and that’s what we will try to work on plus of course trying to make our strengths of course even stronger,” Verstappen concluded.


Following their first win-less season for over a decade, Mercedes have a long way to go to get back on terms with the team which ended their dominating string of championship successes. Despite that, George Russell is encouraged by their prospects heading into his third season at the team.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Interlagos, 2023
Mercedes committed early on to a new design for 2024
“I think the task for everybody is massive,” he said late last year. “We’re all trying to catch up to the most dominant car in F1 history. So that’s no short task, and everybody’s going to have to come together, really focused, really put everything into it and time will tell.

“But I think we’re going into this winter in a much better place than we were 12 months ago and two years ago.”

Team principal Toto Wolff likened the challenge facing them to climbing Mount Everest. The team concluded early last year they needed to completely change development direction and committed to it, restoring James Allison to the role of technical director and, last week, extending his contract to lead their design team.

The team is therefore making dramatic changes for the coming season. Compared to its predecessor, the W15 should be a different beast entirely. “We are changing the concept,” said Wolff. “We are completely moving away from how we laid out the chassis, the weight distribution, the airflow. Literally, almost every component has been changed, because only by doing that I think we have a chance.”

However he cautioned that their radical new approach is no guarantee of success. “We could get it wrong, also,” he admitted. “So between not gaining what we expect to catching up and making a big step and competing at the front, everything is possible. If you asked me today, there’s always scepticism, but that’s the mentality in the team and that pushes us forward. To never give up.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free


The only team to beat Red Bull to a victory last season, which ended the year as their closest challengers on pure pace, are wary of losing too much of the SF-23’s strengths. “There’s circuits where we are on pole by three-tenths to a Red Bull,” said Carlos Sainz Jnr, “it’s just that it’s a very specific trait of the car that really is good – we just need to make it an all-rounder.”

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Yas Marina, 2023
At the end of 2023 Ferrari were closest to Red Bull
He listed some of the qualities he hopes are retained in their new car. “I would take, definitely, the straight-line speed and the braking performance and the performance in 90-degree or short-duration corners,” he said. “Also the kerb-riding, I think, is a very strong point. So the car has very, very strong points.”

However Sainz accepts the 2024 car will have to be a compromise in some respects, particularly in order to ensure they are as competitive in the grands prix as they were in qualifying last year. “I feel like if we want to have a car for the whole year, maybe we need to give away some of these strengths to make sure that we are quick everywhere. Especially in the race.

“I think in the race is where we need to really focus on understanding what are we doing to the car, what are we doing to these tyres that is not allowing us to compete in the races at the level of Red Bull and McLaren in Brazil, for example, in Austin, in circuits where you can clearly see we just don’t have the race pace.”

The SF-23’s successor will be the first car produced by the team under the watch of Frederic Vasseur. He believes the gain the team must make to close on Red Bull is relatively small.

“We have the same regulation now three years in a row that you can’t change massively the situation,” he said. “It’s a matter of tenths of seconds. It means that it’s 0.1, 0.2% of performance that we are looking for, it’s not five.”

“We are changing 95% of the components of the car,” he added. “Perhaps you can consider that it’s a ‘revolution’. I don’t know if it will be.

“The expectation is that we are focused on ourselves. We are doing a good step forward. But at the end it’s always a matter of comparison. You can improve by 100, if the others are improving by 120 you will look stupid, if they are improving by 80 you will look like a mega hero.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free


Lando Norris will start his sixth season in F1 this year, all of which he has spent at McLaren. The team started 2023 poorly, struggling to escape Q1, but after significant upgrades at the Austrian and Singapore grands prix there were days when they looked like genuine challengers to Red Bull. Oscar Piastri even took a fully-merited sprint race win in Qatar.

Lando Norris, McLaren, Red Bull Ring, 2023
Norris expects a bigger step forward from McLaren this year
The team went into 2023 with a new team principal in Andrea Stella and an overhaul of its technical division. The latter will continue this year with the arrival of two key hires: Rob Marshall from Red Bull and David Sanchez from Ferrari. On top of that, having finished fourth in the constructors championship last year, McLaren are allowed to conduct significantly more aerodynamic development that Red Bull.

Norris is therefore setting his sights high for the gains the team can make in 2024. “I expect almost bigger changes than we’ve had over the last year,” he said. “I feel like we’ve been in a place now more than ever where we can tackle more things at once.

“If you’re still last, you kind of try to focus a lot more on one thing, just making the car a little bit quicker. Now, I think we’re in a much better position that we can focus on some of the finer details. The details we’ve not really been able to improve much at all over the last five years. Things that I would love to have more of as a driver and which I think suit me more as a driver.

“It’s trying to work on those things and I think now we’re more capable than ever of trying to focus on them and improve them, and that will help with qualifying, will help the race pace, help with racing. Some small things can make a big difference. So if we can work on that, then I’m confident we can have a very good car next year. A more consistent car is really the main thing that we want to have.”

Aston Martin

Last year Aston Martin stunned F1 by going from mid-grid contenders to the closest challengers to Red Bull at the beginning of the year. It didn’t last – the team slumped to fifth in the standings by the end of the year.

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, Circuit of the Americas, 2023
Aston Martin’s performance tailed off late in the year
The team’s head of vehicle performance, Tom McCullough, says they need their 2024 car to be more adaptable across the range of 24 different circuits it will race at.

“We’re trying to put a car together that you can go to all the tracks and just change the rear wing level, front wing level, and be strong,” he explained at the end of 2023. “At the moment we’re having to change components a bit, whether the bias is towards low-speed, high-speed, efficiency, et cetera. So that’s a little bit why we’ve been changing some components from event to event.

“The aim next year is to have a car that you don’t need to do that as much and the base level is just higher. I think the learning from the tests we’ve done with components and also the physical track testing of certain parts is giving us really good knowledge to help develop the car.”

He also identified the car’s straight-line speed as an area where they need to make considerable gains. Their shortfall here was especially noticeable on the long straight at the Las Vegas Strip Circuit late in the year.

“Your DRS switch is important for your straight-line speed when you open the DRS,” he said, “and that’s still an area that I still think we can improve on that more. For us the stability of the aerodynamics has been key to give the drivers a platform that they can rely on and are comfortable with. But we need to push a few areas a bit harder to get a bit more performance.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free


A turbulent 2023 for Alpine saw many top figures head for the exit, including team principal Otmar Szafnauer, technical director Pat Fry and sporting director Alan Permane. Fry later said he “didn’t feel there was the enthusiasm or the drive to move forward beyond fourth.” With the peaky A523, which was good enough for the podium on its rare best days, they came sixth.

Pierre Gasly, Alpine, Yas Marina, 2023
Peak downforce was Alpine’s biggest weakness, Gasly reckons
Pierre Gasly, who spent his first season at the team last year, believes their next car needs to produce more downforce.

“It’s been up and down, but sometimes the balance actually feels quite fine,” he said. “But you’re just in four-wheel slides.

“I think generally we’re missing load in high speeds, which we know. We’re missing a bit of front grip at low-speed compared to what I like. Missing a bit of ride [quality].

“It’s just very small areas, but I’m pretty sure other teams – not like other teams are perfect on everywhere as well. I think it’s constant progress that we’re chasing.”


There was clear progress from Williams in 2023. In previous years their cars had been strong in a straight line but weaker in most other respects. They managed to improve their high-speed cornering and picked up enough points to take seventh in the championship.

Alex Albon, Williams, Monza, 2023
The FW45 was clearly quicker at some tracks than others
However Alexander Albon still described the car as having “a big personality” which suited some tracks much more than others. “It has one way that you need to drive it, and at the same time there are corners that suit it, corners that don’t suit it. The peakiness of the car is pretty extreme in some places.”

Last year’s car particularly suffered in corners where drivers had to combine braking with changes of direction. “If you look at [Interlagos], compared to Monza, it’s exactly these kind of issues which we’re trying to fix this year,” Albon explained.

“There are corners in Brazil, there’s maybe four of them, that we’re losing a tenth and a half in each corner. And we can’t get around them, we can’t stop front-locking, we can’t stop understeering off the track.

“Then at the same time, in Monza we don’t really have a limitation with that. It doesn’t seem to hurt us. Because a lot of the braking is straight line, we don’t need to combine too much. So that’s where you see peaks, because our car has good qualities and bad qualities.”

However this was a characteristic of Williams’ cars long before Albon arrived there in 2022, he says. “Our job next year is to get rid of them as much as we can,” he said. “That’s been in the car for the last five, six years and hopefully next year we can finally make some inroads in it.”

That was something the team made little progress on last year, he added. “From last year to this year, our car characteristics didn’t really change that much. It’s just we added more downforce to it.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free


The team formerly known as AlphaTauri spent much of last season in poor shape, slumping to last in the constructors’ standings at one stage. But a late spate of upgrades, which included a new floor introduced at the final race, lifted them to a more competitive position.

Daniel Ricciardo, AlphaTauri, Yas Marina, 2023
‘RB’ will be in good shape if they continue recent gains
This was attributed partly to moving their design philosophy closer to that of senior team Red Bull. They intend to continue in the same fashion this year, prompting suggestions they could replicate the kind of off-season leap forward Racing Point made in 2020 when they produced a car clearly influenced by Mercedes’ design.

“Next year all of the aerodynamic surfaces will be different,” head of trackside engineering Jonathan Eddolls confirmed. “This is just a continual development. We’ve been updating the car all season. Since Singapore, Austin, we’ve been bringing packages.”

A key goal here will be a noted strength of the RB19 – its efficient generation of downforce. “The area we still need to address for next year is the aerodynamic efficiency,” said Eddolls.

“We are quite competitive in the slow-speed corners. But we’ve got the downside we’re one of the slowest cars on the straights. So we make the time in the corners, but then we’re we’re losing on the straights. I think we need to readdress the balance of load in the corners and aerodynamic efficiency. But that’s being worked on for next year.”


This team made a strong start when F1’s revised technical regulations were introduced in 2022. They ended that season level on points with Aston Martin, but the form of the two teams diverged sharply in 2023. While Aston Martin become podium contenders, Alfa Romeo fell to ninth in the standings.

Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo, Interlagos, 2023
Alfa Romeo is another team banking on a change in concept
Its racing director Xevi Pujolar said the team’s gains with last year’s car were too modest. “We made progress in pretty much all areas [compared to 2022] but we need to be honest that our competitors did even one step better.

“Everything is very, very close, all the teams, we can be within less than 1% now and it’s still not enough. We need just to make small improvements in all areas, just to make sure that we can qualify in Q3 and then we can capitalise also the points and every race we can we need to be consistent.”

This is another team which has decided to change the underlying concept of its car for 2024. “Clearly we’ve hit the end with this car’s development, we just haven’t been able to find any anything big,” Valtteri Bottas admitted last year, “so the whole concept needs to be different.”

The team’s change of direction was set in motion before the return of James Key, now their technical director, from McLaren. Will they be able to mimic the progress his former team made last year? He indicated they are planning significant upgrades once the season is underway.

“I’ve come in at a time when the architecture of next year’s car was broadly complete,” he explained at the end of last season. “In time to catch a few bits and pieces and look at them in a bit more detail. But it’s then taking that and making a plan for it. We’ve got a pretty clear plan for next year.

“There’s several possibly big-ticket development items that I think we need to try and get onto the car during the ’24 season, so we’ve got that going on.”

He echoed Pujolar’s view that the gains they need to find are relatively minor. “If you look at an overlay between us and a Mercedes or a Red Bull or something like that, it’s just a few corners or a little bit of braking or something,” he said.

“It’s not like this massive difference you used to see with a car that was in sort of P8, P9 position compared to a car, which is in P1, P2. The difference was very stark just a few years ago, now it’s incredibly close.

“So that suggests if we do exactly as Xevi was saying with getting everything right both at the track and at the factory wand our decisions on development, decisions on the car, then there’s plenty more opportunity there. Everyone’s in the same boat but there’s no reason to believe we we are stuck in this position at all.

“I believe we can definitely move further forward. And if you look at that band of P5, P6 at the moment, really down to P10, it’s immensely close. So in that respect, there is every reason to be optimistic that we can go further forward.”


The unexpected departure of team principal Guenther Steiner earlier this month spelled out how badly things have gone for Haas since their promising result in the first race of the 2022 season. The team laboured through much of 2023 with a car which had a frustrating tendency to perform in qualifying but destroyed its tyres over a race distance.

Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Interlagos, 2023
Late upgrade failed to pay of for Haas, but Magnussen has faith
The team’s development opportunities are inevitably constrained by its preference to use as many parts as it can from supplier team Ferrari. Nonetheless it evaluated an overhauled version of its car which was introduced at last year’s United States Grand Prix. This did not prove to be a solution to their problems, and in little time Nico Hulkenberg reverted to using their original design, which was still competitive enough to reach Q3 at the season finale.

While Hulkenberg admitted his frustration over the team’s lack of progress, his long-serving team mate Kevin Magnussen believes they made a change for the better. “For a while now we’ve been developing in a different direction, a different concept of car,” he said late last year. “And I think that’s really been the main change in the team, that we looked at a different concept of car. Because we were stopping for too long with with the concept of car that we started with.”

As Magnussen has experienced in the past, Haas tend to slip back relative to their rivals over the course of a season. However he has noticed changes behind the scenes which he hopes will bear fruit in 2024.

“We weren’t able to find better performance even on the drawing board [in 2023]. So we need to break that, which I think we have already. Things are looking better back at the factory. We’ve kind of broke that status quo that we had for too big a part of the season. So I think things have already changed.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2023 F1 season

Browse all 2023 F1 season articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

9 comments on “What each F1 team says they want from their new cars for 2024”

  1. Jonathan Parkin
    26th January 2024, 12:49

    Having watched the 14 Peaks documentary twice I do know that there are tougher mountains to climb than Everest. Like Annapurna and K2 to name just a couple

  2. Go faster?.. Except Red Bull, who will be thinking “How can we make it not look like a stroll in the park” :)

    1. Give verstappen a bonus for winning with the smallest possible margin instead of the biggest!

  3. It looks from this like Mercedes, Aston Martin, RB, Sauber, and Haas have decided to wade into deep water with significantly redesigned cars. That’s half the field. If even one them gets lucky and chose the right path, 2024 will NOT be a repeat of last year and could be an upset. Here’s hoping somebody had the insight to figure out how and the fortitude to commit to the radical direction it will take to beat arguably the greatest F1 team the sport has ever seen.

    1. That’s an interesting idea by them, yes, though some teams aren’t gonna be competitive no matter what they try, I only trust mercedes on providing all year competition out of those if they get the car right, not even aston martin.

    2. Wow…Two constructors titles in a row and suddenly RB are “arguably the greatest F1 team the sport has ever seen”???
      Mercedes won 8 constructors and 7 drivers titles in a row and I wouldn’t give them the greatest f1 team either but it’s a much bigger achievement than RB and RB had Newey in their team.

      1. Trust me, I thought thrice before claiming that, but RB’s car and organization absolutely destroyed everyone. And they didn’t just get there because of an unlikely engineering success like Mercedes had with a hybrid engine design that on rollout even shocked themselves to the point that they had to disguise what they’d created. Instead, RB mounted a dedicated, long term campaign to regain the summit and did it with a vengeance. Will it last for another X number of years? Not likely, which of course, is what everyone except RB happens to want.

  4. And do not forget Seb’s four triumphal years.

    1. (was a reply to Vietvet)

Comments are closed.