It was launch day for Williams and Stake, but not all key talking points revolved around F1 2024 challenger reveals on this day in Formula 1.
Williams showed the world their FW46 livery as we also got the chance to see the first challenger of the Stake F1 Team era, while talk continues to rumble on about the biggest driver move seen in over a decade.
Let us take a deeper look at the day’s main talking points…
Williams title-winning sponsor deal reignited in FW46 livery launch
Williams got F1 2024 launch season properly up and running by unveiling the look which their FW46 will carry on the track during the upcoming season.
And a major point of note was the return of the Komatsu branding, breathing fresh life into a partnership that existed throughout the 1980s and ’90s as Komatsu supplied gearbox components to the title-winning 1996 and ’97 cars.
Stake F1 Team era begins with C44 reveal
Williams were not alone in launch duties on Monday, as we also got our first look at Stake’s C44.
It is the first challenger unveiled under this identity, the Sauber-operated team running the name until the start of the Audi era in 2026.
Sprint, DRS and power unit changes set for 2024 season
The latest F1 Commission meeting saw approval for changes to the F1 Sprint schedule, with the weekend now set to take place as follows:
Friday: Free Practice 1 and Sprint qualifying
Saturday: Sprint and Grand Prix qualifying
Sunday: Grand Prix
Alongside that, DRS is set to activate after one complete lap instead of two, while each driver is set to gain one more power unit in their allocation to cope with the demands of a 24-race season – though all these changes are subject to approval by the World Motor Sport Council on February 28.
Flavio Briatore’s ‘batman’ warning to Lewis Hamilton
F1 2024 will mark the final season of the iconic Hamilton-Mercedes union, as the seven-time World Champion is off to Ferrari following the coming campaign.
It was a dream move that came to be out of nowhere, former Renault team boss Flavio Briatore admitting he was “very surprised”, though he warned Hamilton that even “Batman” would struggle if the Scuderia don’t design a more competitive car.
“Do I agree with the choice? I don’t know,” he told LaPresse.
“First of all you have to get the car right, you can also have Batman in the team, but if the car is not competitive it’s not like the driver can make a difference.”
Ferrari downplay Lewis Hamilton-Charles Leclerc tension prospect
Shortly after announcing a new contract for Leclerc, widely-regarded as the Ferrari poster boy backed to return them to the title-winning promised land, they delivered the shock confirmation that seven-time World Champion Hamilton was to become his new team-mate from 2025.
Safe to say the ingredients seem to be there for some fireworks between the pair, though vice chairman Piero Ferrari does not believe the Leclerc title prophecy is being put at risk.
“Charles is the champion of the future, Ferrari believes in him and has proved it, I think,” he told Italian journalist Leo Turrini. “Hamilton is Hamilton. I don’t see why they should fight.”