The Stake Formula 1 Team and Haas have become the first F1 squads to take to the race track in a 2024 car ahead of the official pre-season testing in Bahrain.1
Except the official pre-season testing and the post-season tyre test, teams have hardly any opportunities to carry out testing. If a team wants to give their junior drivers a chance of driving an F1 car, they can only use older machines under the Testing of Previous Cars (TPC) provision. That is an opportunity McLaren have already used in the past two years to give IndyCar racers Colton Herta and Pato O'Ward the chance of proving themselves in an F1 car.
Pirelli also carries out in-season test to perform tyre test for the following season. The Milan-based tyre supplier has worked with several teams over the course of the past years, when outfits can use their actual car, but in 'blind' conditions that means that they have to use the setup Pirelli dictates and they can only use parts that have been already used in previous race weekends. On top of that, Pirelli shares the information gained during these runs with all the other teams, helping them with the car development.
Moreover, every F1 outfit is entitled to carry out two 'Promotional Events' - or filming days - during a year with their current challenger. Many teams elect to run at least one of the days prior to pre-season testing, using the opportunity to check the basic functions of their brand-new cars.
While teams were only allowed to 200km during a filming day, a tweak to the regulations this year has seen the maximum track time increased to 400km.
The Sauber F1 Team that will race under the Stake F1 Team banner this year showed off its 2024 F1 car on February 5, revealing a complete deparature of the red-dominated colour scheme that the Hinwil based team used during its Alfa Romeo era. Instead, the Swiss outfit will use a new colour scheme with fluorescent green on a carbon base this year.
The next two seasons mark a commercially weird time for the Hinwil based F1 outfit as Alfa Romeo has left as title sponsor, but Audi which will take over the team from 2026 will only arrive in two years’ time.
The team’s 2024 F1 car, the C44 has hit the track for the first time in Barcelona with the outfit having carried out a shakedown test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya ahead of the three-day test session in Bahrain. Interestingly, the C44 did not carry the Stake logos because of their strict advertising rules regarding gambling in Spain. Moreover, with gambling advertising being prohibited in several countries, the team will be able to use the footage recorded during the filming without any limitations.
Today saw Haas carry out a shakedown test with its 2024 F1 car, the VF-24. It was Nico Hulkenberg who jumped into the VF-24 to complete the first laps with the new machine. The American F1 outfit is set to complete a second shakedown event in Bahrain the day before official pre-season testing gets underway.