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F1 Drivers to Watch in 2024

There is a winner-takes-all mindset in the world of F1, but every driver on the grid still wants to showcase their potential in the hope of better results in the current season or a move to a stronger team in the future.

Battles for position go on throughout the field even when there are no points at stake and every competitor on the 20-car grid wants to show they are not just there to make up the numbers over the 24 races of the 2024 F1 season.

This year there are surprisingly no new faces in the sport, with the line-up for the opening race in Bahrain set to be the same as it was for the last race of 2023.

Here we take a look at five drivers away from the leading championship contenders who are hoping to impress and have the potential to enjoy a strong season.

Formula 1

Oscar Piastri

Australian ace Oscar Piastri is the clear pick of the names on this list as he prepares for his second F1 season after an impressive first year with McLaren.

The 22-year-old from Melbourne is the only one of these drivers with drivers championship odds of less than 250/1 and he is 40/1 in the pre-season betting, alongside double world champion Fernando Alonso.

Piastri's team-mate with the British team, Lando Norris, is the third favourite at 14/1 but the gap between the drivers is arguably too big given the unexpectedly close fight Piastri gave him at times in 2023 and his potential to take a step forward in his second year.

The Aussie was one of only four drivers to win any kind of F1 race in 2023, with world champion Max Verstappen, his Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez and Ferrari's Carlos Sainz Jr. the only drivers to win full grands prix, while Verstappen, Perez and Piastri were the only winners of the six shorter sprint races.

Piastri crossed the line first in the Qatar Sprint in October after claiming pole for the 19-lap Saturday showdown.

He finished his first season ninth in the championship with 97 points, which was less than half the 205 that Norris gained in finishing sixth, but with the papaya-coloured cars having come on strong in the second half of the season, Piastri has a great chance to catch the eye again in 2024.

Alex Albon

Alex Albon has been on the F1 grid for four seasons and was out of a race drive in 2021 after being demoted from the Red Bull team to a test driver role.

He enjoyed a real career resurgence in 2023, however, in his second season with Williams as the British team was finally able to supply him with a competitive car.

After struggling at the back of the pack in 2022, scoring just four points for 19th in the championship, Albon claimed 27 points in 2023 as his blue car proved to be one of the fastest on the grid in a straight line and went particularly well at tracks with long straights.

Albon, who was born in London but races under the flag of his mother's nation, Thailand, finished in the points at six of the final 15 races of 2023 with a best finish of seventh in the Canadian and Italian events.

He blew away his rookie team-mate Logan Sargeant, who collected just a single point, and demonstrated that when he has a competitive car he knows how to use it.

Lance Stroll

Lance Stroll did not have the season he would have wanted in 2023 for the Aston Martin team that is owned by his father Lawrence Stroll, but 10th place in the championship was his best finish to date in his seven seasons in F1.

He could not add to his total of three podiums and a pole position, but his season was disrupted from the start when he broke both of his wrists and a toe in a pre-season cycling accident. While he was able to make the grid for the first race, it is likely that he was not at full strength all year and could be seen to better effect this time around.

Stroll still managed fourth place in Australia and fifth place in two of the final three races of the year, suggesting he retains the ability to steer the car to decent finishes.

He was some distance behind his double world champion team-mate Fernando Alonso, who claimed eight podium finishes, but six of those were in the first half of the season when the car was at its most competitive and Stroll was still battling his injuries.

Given a better preparation this time, the Canadian has the potential to make some headlines if the car is fast enough.

Daniel Ricciardo

The final two drivers in this list race for the same team, the renamed Visa Cash App RB F1 team, which was previously known as Alpha Tauri and Toro Rosso before that.

Daniel Ricciardo, a star of the popular F1 Netflix series Drive To Survive, had looked to be on the scrap heap when he struggled for two years at McLaren and was way off the pace of team-mate Lando Norris most of the time, but he has shown signs of a rebound since returning to his former home with the Red Bull family.

The VCARB team are under the same ownership as Red Bull and reports suggest the second team's car will bear a closer resemblance to the design of the grid-leading vehicle in 2024. Whether it is good for the sport or not for teams not to be totally independent is open for debate, but it is undeniable that Ricciardo could benefit if that is the case.

The Australian reportedly set some impressive testing times in a Red Bull last season, earning him the VCARB drive, and Ricciardo, who won a race for McLaren in 2021, was seventh in Mexico towards the end of last season.

If he now has a car that suits his driving style, it's possible we could see someone more like the Riccardo who won seven races for Red Bull again in 2024. 

Yuki Tsunoda

If the VCARB car proves to be a clear improvement on the Alpha Tauri of 2023, then Japanese driver Yuki Tsunoda is also capable of producing some strong results in it.

Tsunoda has been something of a disappointment in his three seasons in F1 since finishing third in the 2020 F2 championship.

He posted the fastest lap of the 2023 United States Grand Prix on his way to a season's best finish of eighth place, which he matched in the year-ending Abu Dhabi race, when he was named Driver of the Day.

Still only 23, Tsunoda knows he needs to make a step forward to secure his future in the sport and to at least keep pace with Ricciardo, but he may have the car to race nearer the front of the pack this season.

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