F1 Pre-Season Testing 2024: Start Date, Viewing Options, and Additional Information

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F1 pre-season testing 2024: When it starts, how to watch and more

The upcoming F1 season looms closer as teams prepare to head to Bahrain for pre-season testing, offering fans a first look at the potential contenders for the year ahead.

Drivers will kick off their campaigns at the Bahrain International Circuit, engaging in pre-season testing from February 21 to 23, marking the initial track action of the 2024 season.

This testing phase precedes the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix scheduled for February 29 to March 2, where insights gained from testing will likely prove crucial.

Questions abound regarding the competitive landscape. Will Red Bull maintain its dominance? Can Max Verstappen secure a fourth consecutive world championship? And will McLaren continue its upward trajectory from 2023, aiming to close the gap to Red Bull, Ferrari, and Mercedes?

Among other changes, the grid sees two new team names, with AlphaTauri rebranded as RB and Sauber shedding its Alfa Romeo identity with Stake backing.

F1 Pre-Season Testing 2024
F1 Pre-Season Testing 2024 (Credits: Planet F1)

Excitement mounts for the upcoming F1 season, with pre-season testing offering fans the first glimpses of the new 2024 car liveries on track.

Pre-season Testing Schedule (Bahrain F1 Circuit – February 21-23, 2024):

Day Start Time Finish time
Wednesday, February 21 2am ET (10am local time) 11am ET (7pm local time)
Thursday, February 22 2am ET (10am local time) 11am ET (7pm local time)
Friday, February 23 2am ET (10am local time) 11am ET (7pm local time)

F1’s choice of Bahrain International Circuit for pre-season testing offers teams track time in representative hot, dry, and sunny conditions. This decision not only reduces travel costs but also aligns with F1’s commitment to environmental sustainability, eliminating the need for teams to fly from pre-season testing to the opening grand prix.

Before the official pre-season testing, teams undertake a filming day or shakedown, allowing them to complete up to 200km of track time to ensure everything is functioning correctly with the new cars.

Driver Lineup:
The F1 driver lineup for 2024 remains unchanged from the previous season. While the same drivers participate in pre-season testing, they rotate track time, with one side of each team’s garage running morning sessions and the other taking the afternoon slots.

Pre-season Testing Objectives:
F1 pre-season testing provides teams with the first opportunity to experiment with various car setups, parts, and programs in preparation for the upcoming season. It prioritizes accumulating knowledge about the new cars through extensive laps rather than chasing outright speed.

TV Coverage:
Official television timings for pre-season testing are yet to be announced. However, it’s expected that Sky Sports F1 will broadcast the entire Bahrain test in the UK and Ireland, with coverage on F1 TV in other regions where available.

Weather Forecast:
Bahrain is anticipated to experience hot and sunny conditions during the 2024 pre-season test, with temperatures typically exceeding 20 degrees Celsius. While Friday is expected to be the warmest and sunniest day, cloudy intervals are forecasted for Wednesday and Thursday.

Accuracy of Testing:
It’s crucial to interpret pre-season testing results with caution, as lap times can be influenced by various factors such as car setups, fuel loads, and tire conditions. Additionally, teams may engage in sandbagging to conceal their true performance potential. Historical data highlights discrepancies between testing results and actual race performance, emphasizing the complexity of predicting F1 outcomes based solely on testing data.

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