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Heavy hitters have questions to answer as F1 testing begins

The 2024 cast of Formula 1 machinery hits the track in Bahrain this week and there are plenty of storylines to follow. Will Red Bull’s decision to go radical (page 38) pay off, and how will the Christian Horner investigation impact the team? What is happening within Mercedes following Lewis Hamilton announcing his shock departure to Ferrari for 2025? Is Ferrari doing the right thing by sticking to its design concept? And can McLaren’s planned developments give Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri the chance to win?

Alex Kalinauckas and Jake Boxall-Legge took a look at the new contenders and the challenges facing the top four teams from last season (p32) before heading off to Bahrain this week.

Elsewhere, Sam Hall speaks to rising star Victor Martins about the Alpine Academy member’s upcoming F2 title challenge (p48), and he also hears from the young British drivers gunning for glory in F3.

The Daytona 500 and Rally Sweden were the big events last weekend. Charles Bradley reports on how William Byron escaped the usual carnage to score a landmark NASCAR victory for Hendrick Motorsports (p18), while Tom Howard was on hand to witness Esapekka Lappi end a long wait for his second World Rally Championship success as the Finn starred in the snow (p22).

● Look out for next week’s 100-page special, previewing both the F1 and World Endurance Championships, and including testing analysis from Bahrain and the WEC Prologue in Qatar. Out on 29 February.

Kevin Turner Chief Editor

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Cover images Finn Pomeroy for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd; Getty Images/Red Bull Content Pool; Ferrari; McLaren

PIT & PADDOCK 4 Red Bull under pressure on investigation 6 GM pushes on with Andretti F1 plan 8 23 Hypercars for Le Mans 24 Hours 10 Maloney, Browning head tests 13 Opinion: Alex Kalinauckas 15 Opinion: Gary Watkins 17 Feedback: your letters

RACE CENTRE 18 Byron survives Daytona ‘Big One’ to win 22 Lappi ends long wait on Rally Sweden 28 World of Sport: Bathurst 12 Hour;

Extreme E; Formula Regional Middle East; Formula Regional Oceania

F 1 2024 32 Key challenges facing the Big Four 38 Red Bull RB20 technical analysis 40 Mercedes W15 technical analysis 42 Ferrari SF-24 technical analysis 44 McLaren aims to continue upward curve 46 McLaren MCL38 technical analysis

FEATURES 48 Victor Martins and the F2 contenders 54 Browning leads the Brits into F3 battle

CLUB AUTOSPORT 67 Obituary: Tony Sugden 68 Keen, Gotz in 2 Seas Brit GT line-up 70 Senna celebration for Silverstone Festival 72 Pomeroy Trophy action 74 Rise of a grassroots giant

FINISHING STRAIGHT 78 What’s on this week 80 From the archive: 1997 Monaco GP 82 My favourite team-mate: Gianmaria Bruni

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