Five Things We Learned from 2024's Pre-Season Testing

Published on
24 Feb 2024
Est. reading time
3 Min

We look back at our trio of test days at the Bahrain International Circuit

Formula 1's 2024 season is nearer than ever after three days of Pre-Season Testing at the Bahrain International Circuit came to a close on Friday.
All 20 drivers and 10 teams, including Williams Racing's Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant, tackled the 5.412 km track to get much-needed mileage on the new cars before Round 1 begins next week.
For us, that meant getting to grips with the FW46 amid red flag stoppages and some quickly fixed teething problems.
We're raring to go for the season-opening Bahrain GP, but we'll first look back at our three days of testing; here's what we've learned.

A Slightly Longer Test

While many of our rivals chose to do their promotional filming days before arriving in Bahrain, Williams Racing's 2024 challenger broke cover one day before testing at the Sakhir circuit.
Our FW46 is the car Albono and Sarge will fight through the 24-race calendar, and they got an additional 200km of Bahraini mileage in before testing began.
It was an enormously proud moment for everyone at Grove to get the car out in front of the public for the first time, and we now have four days of on-track data — three from testing and one from the filming day — to familiarise ourselves with ahead of the season.

Livery under the Lights

With more and more night races in the F1 calendar, having our test days in Bahrain, a floodlight-equipped circuit, comes with the beauty of day and night running.
While that is advantageous for our engineers to understand the FW46's characteristics in varying conditions, it also lets us see our 2024 livery under the sun and beneath the stars.
New and old partners adorn the updated blue-on-blue colour scheme, and the red-white pinstripe adds an elegant detail to the look.
As you may have seen from our testing photo galleries, the FW46 is a classy-looking car, no matter if viewed in sunlight or the night sky and will look sensational at lights out next Saturday.

Back to School

Every season brings a new year of learning with a car that's an evolution of its predecessor.
Sometimes, however, that change is more pronounced than others, and 2024 has Alex noticing a sizeable behaviour and performance shift between the FW45 and FW46.
Our No23 explained to the media that the DNA of the car has advanced so much that it "feels like I've changed team".
We assure you that Albono is driving in Williams Racing overalls this year!

James Vowles, the Photographer

Alex feels like he's at a new team, and we saw James Vowles venture into a new career, too.
Our Team Principal took some time away from the pit wall and tried his hand at trackside photography when the circuit's lights illuminated the track on Thursday evening.
Accompanied by an unconvinced Alex, James borrowed a camera and started taking shots of the passing cars.
However, he didn't last long and quickly handed the equipment back to the cameraman, who tried to explain how to check for improvements. James' jovial response? "No need! The first picture I look at... it's perfectly shot! We're done!"

Flying Solo

Three days of testing flew by, but our track time saw us executing different driver schedules each day.
Logan and Alex jumped in on Wednesday for a half day each before taking on entire-day driving duties over Thursday and Friday.
Sarge was the driver in the hot seat on Day 2, and he earned a Friday rest after putting in some 117 laps on the interrupted second day.
Further red flags suspended the final day of testing for Albono, but he also recorded a double-Grands Prix distance across a single test, ending Day 3 with 121 laps.
With FP1 coming up fast, our pair will add even more laps to their Bahrain totals on Thursday as we prepare to start 2024.
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