Ivo Bozukov, vice president of energy transition at Forum Energy Technologies, travels extensively with his work. Sporting events are a focal point for Ivaylo Bozoukov in his travels, particularly F1 races.
In the run-up to the F1 2024 season, a few interesting changes have been announced, with the sport’s global expansion having led to the addition of several new venues in recent years, including Qatar and Las Vegas.
Along with the comeback of the Chinese Grand Prix, F1 has shifted its focus to making the schedule more manageable. One notable feature of the F1 2024 calendar is the addition of Saturday races for the first two rounds of the season. Take for example the F1 fixture in Saudi Arabia, which has been moved from Sunday to Saturday to accommodate Ramadan. Similarly, organisers have brought the 2024 F1 racing season opener in Bahrain forward by one day, ensuring the customary gap between the two fixtures.
Despite being a regular staple in Formula 1, there has not been a Chinese Grand Prix since 2019 due to the lingering impact of the pandemic. However, as the world emerges from the shadow of COVID-19, the Chinese Grand Prix is set to make a comeback for the 2024 season, bringing renewed potential for nail-biting action in this dynamic nation.
Another change ahead in 2024 is a push towards easing off long travel between event venues. The 2024 season will start with the Bahrain Grand Prix and then, following a three-day rest, continue with the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, minimising the logistical challenges and travel arrangements involved in a tightly packed event calendar.
Recognising the need for adaptability, F1 has changed several dates for established races, including moving the Japanese Grand Prix from its traditional late-season slot to early April. In addition, Barcelona has been rescheduled for late June, marking the opening leg of an exciting triple-header that includes Austria and Great Britain.
The event in Baku has been moved to September, with the Qatar Grand Prix now positioned as the penultimate race, creating a tripleheader with Las Vegas before the season finale in Abu Dhabi.
Following the shock departure of Fernando Alonso and the team’s inability to retain Oscar Piastri, Alpine has invested heavily in securing Esteban Ocon and fellow countryman Pierre Gasly to complete its French driver/team line-up for the 2024 F1 racing season.
Alfa Romeo’s 2024 driver line-up includes Valtteri Bottas, who is midway through a three-year deal with the team, and Zhou Guanyu, who signed an extended deal for 2024. Following a disappointing start to the 2023 campaign that saw Alfa Romeo slide to the back of the pack, 2024 will see the team revert to Sauber, maintaining its driver line-up for the season before becoming an Audi works team in 2026. Bottas, who joined the Alfa Romeo team in 2022, was under contract for the 2024 season, although doubt was expressed in some circles regarding the future of his team-mate. Alessandro Alunni Bravi, a representative for the team, indicated that Alfa Romeo had chosen ‘stability’ amid their transition into the factory Audi effort by 2026. The team will end its relationship with Alfa Romeo following the conclusion of the 2023 season.
Meanwhile, Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo will drive for AlphaTauri, with Liam Lawson serving as a reserve. Bringing up the rear of the F1 grid, AlphaTauri will be hoping that consistency pulls them out of the mire.
Having signed a multi-year deal, Fernando Alonso will drive for Aston Martin, with the Spaniard having captured seven podium finishes throughout the first 13 races of the season in 2023. Lance Stroll has also been confirmed for the team, according to Aston Martin boss Mike Krack.
Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz will drive for Ferrari following a slow start in 2023, with just two podium finishes in the first 13 races.
Having undergone something of a change of philosophy in 2023, moving away from youth and potential to maturity and experience, Haas has signed Nico Hülkenberg to replace Mick Schumacker, joining Kevin Magnussen.
McLaren’s 2024 driver line-up will consist of Lando Norris, who signed a new extension up to 2025. Norris will be joined by Oscar Piastri, who agreed on an extension to 2026, with McLaren’s driver line-up unwavering despite some frustrations with performance.
For Mercedes, George Russel and Lewis Hamilton have both been confirmed until 2026, with the Mercedes team no doubt hoping to bounce back following an underwhelming title defence in 2022.
Finally, Max Verstappen signed a five-year extension with Red Bull in 2022 and will be joined by Sergio Perez, who was given a two-year extension for the team following the 2022 Monaco Grand Prix. Pundits suggest that Verstappen’s young talent could prove to be a threat to Perez’s long-term position with the team, with rumours circulating regarding the Mexican’s contract and speculation that he could see pay deducted should he fall even further behind Verstappen in the drivers’ standings.