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F1: Dates, format, drivers & how to watch

The new F1 season begins in March with the biggest-ever schedule of 24 races.

The majority of teams will set out determined to finish closer to Red Bull's Max Verstappen, who dominated the 2023 championship, winning 19 of the 22 races to claim his third world championship victory.

Former champions Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso are chasing further glory in a 22-car driver line-up that is unusually expected to be unchanged from the final race of 2023.

2024 F1 season dates

The first race of the 2024 season will again take place at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir - as it has in each of the past three seasons - on 5th March, 2024.

Races continue at intervals of between one and four weeks until the 24th and final race of the year at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi on 26th November, meaning the campaign will last for almost nine months.

2024 F1 season venues

There are two venues scheduled to hold races in 2024 that did not host events last season, although both are returning locations rather than all-new sites such as Las Vegas, which was added to the calendar in 2023.

The Chinese Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit returns after a four-year absence and is a circuit that Verstappen is yet to win at, while Hamilton took his sixth victory there when the race was last held in 2019.

The other returning race, the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, was due to be held in 2023, but cancelled in the week before the race due to severe flooding in the region. Verstappen won the last two events held at Imola in 2021 and 2022. 

F1 2024 driver line-up



Red Bull RacingMax Verstappen & Sergio Perez
MercedesLewis Hamilton & George Russell
FerrariCharles Leclerc & Carlos Sainz
McLarenLando Norris & Oscar Piastri
Aston MartinFernando Alonso & Lance Stroll
AlpineEsteban Ocon & Pierre Gasly
WilliamsAlex Albon & Logan Sargeant
Visa Cash App RBDaniel Ricciardo & Yuki Tsunoda
Stake F1 TeamValtteri Bottas & Zhou Guanyu
HaasKevin Magnussen & Nico Hulkenberg

2024 F1 season how to watch

F1 is one of the most popular sports in the world and can be seen live in the UK on Sky Sports, with highlights of qualifying and races also available free-to-air on Channel 4.

F1 race weekend format 

An F1 race weekend takes place over three days, with teams getting two one-hour practice sessions on a Friday to study how the car is performing on a track on a standard weekend.

There's a third one-hour practice session on Saturday morning, before a one-hour qualifying session for the race itself is held in the afternoon.

Qualifying is split into three phases - Q1, Q2 and Q3 - with the five slowest drivers being eliminated in Q3, five more bowing out in Q2, before the final ten battle it out for pole position. 

Pole goes to the driver who sets the fastest time in Q3 and means they start at the front of the grid on race day, followed by the next fastest driver and so on.

The race itself is then held on Sunday and usually lasts just under two hours.

F1 sprint race explained

First introduced in July 2021 for the British Grand Prix, this season will again see six Sprint weekends held across the season, in China, Miami, Austria, Austin, Sao Paulo and Qatar. 

The sprint races shake up the established order of a race weekend and further changes to the format are expected this season, although the exact format has not been announced yet. 

Verstappen won four of the six sprints in 2023, with his Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez and McLaren's Oscar Piastri winning the other short races.

F1 scoring system explained

Drivers are awarded points for finishing in the top-10 of a Grand Prix, with 25 points going to the race winner. There's also an extra point on offer to the driver who sets the fastest lap time during the race. 


Points are also awarded for the sprint races with the top eight awarded points as follows:


What is DRS?

The Drag Reduction System (DRS) was introduced into Formula 1 in 2011 in order to increase the amount of overtaking during a race. 

The system works by opening an adjustable flap on the rear wing of an F1 car which reduces drag and can boost a car's speed by between 10 to 12 kilometres per hour. 

DRS can be used at any time during practice or qualifying, but its use is limited during a race.

It isn't in operation during the first two laps of a race and a driver must be less than one second behind the car in front for it to become active.

F1 tyres explained 

The tyres used in F1 are nothing like those fitted to an ordinary car, with official tyre supplier Pirelli designing them to last between only 60 to 120 kilometres. 

There are six different types of tyres available, ranging from the C1 compound which are the hardest and longest lasting tyres, but also the slowest, to the fast but short-lived C5.

The tyre compounds are colour-coded so viewers can tell the difference with the hardest compound marked in white, the medium compound yellow and the softest tyre red. There are also two sets of wet weather tyres - green-marked intermediate and blue-marked wet tyres.

F1 2024 new rules

After what was a significant overhaul of technical regulations that preceded the 2023 season, the changes to the rules for the 2024 campaign are set to be relatively minor.

Sprint qualifying is set to move to Friday with the sprint itself and qualifying for the Grand Prix on Saturdays at the six races that will stage sprints this year, and there may be other changes to the shorter-race format.

There have been some confirmed alterations to the technical rules.

Ducting will be allowed in the nose of the car which will increase airflow to try to keep drivers cooler during the hotter races on the circuit.

There will be 13 sets of tyres for all race weekends across the schedule in 2024, after complaints from teams in 2023 during the two race weekends when only 11 sets were permitted.

Changes are also to be allowed with regards to the structure of the car floor to improve safety.

Any odds displayed were correct at the time of writing and are subject to fluctuation.

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