F1 Testing 2024: The seven biggest headlines from Day 1 in Bahrain

Henry Valantine
Carlos Sainz in F1 testing for Ferrari.

F1 testing got underway in Bahrain on Wednesday. with all 10 new cars on show.

F1 testing got off to a flying start on Wednesday, with 1,236 laps of the Bahrain International Circuit completed between the 10 teams as the new crop of cars proved to be reliable from the off.

Williams were the only team to not complete 100 laps, with a minor issue for Alex Albon in the morning followed by a driveshaft problem for Logan Sargeant in the afternoon – but they still completed more than a Grand Prix in terms of distance covered.

Max Verstappen grabbed the headlines in terms of pace, while not fully representative of course because of it being F1 testing, but the gap will have made the other teams take notice.

Max Verstappen tops F1 testing Day 1, by some distance

In terms of the times, the reigning World Champion was over a second clear of Lando Norris in second place come the end of the day.

Of course, nobody fully knows the extent of how much the other teams were holding back their full potential compared to how much Verstappen was leaning on the RB20, but to be so far ahead so soon was an ominous sign.

Only Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez did not take part, and they will be behind the wheel for the first time on Thursday.

Read more: F1 testing 2024: Max Verstappen ends Day 1 with big gap to F1 rivals in Bahrain

A look at each F1 2024 car that the cameras may not have caught

Our own Thomas Maher is in Bahrain keeping you up to date with all the action, and he was able to take himself around the track and watch all 10 cars at close quarters.

With that he got a first impression of each car and how it looked close up, with some looking better than others early on.

There’s still a long way to go in F1 testing, but you can read his thoughts below.

Read more: Up close and personal: First impressions of each F1 2024 car in Bahrain testing

George Russell: Mercedes W15 feels ‘nicer to drive’ than W14

Mercedes fans will have been waiting all winter to hear the news on how the W15 has turned out, with George Russell having been behind the wheel all day.

He revealed it feels “nicer to drive” than its predecessor, but the proof of its success will naturally be in its speed rather than its comfort.

“Overall, the W15 does feel nicer to drive than last year’s car,” he said.

“We know that it’s not about the feeling, but the speed. Nevertheless, today was about learning and not about chasing performance.

“We’re focused on ourselves at this test, and it will only be next week where we see where we stack up against the others.

Read more: George Russell reveals first Mercedes W15 verdict following Bahrain test debut

Bouncing Ferrari SF-24 noticed by Anthony Davidson

Up in the commentary box, former F1 driver Anthony Davidson noticed a troublesome feature on the new Ferrari, in that it is still appearing to bounce while at high speed.

The word ‘porpoising’ seems to have largely disappeared following its flying return to the Formula 1 lexicon when ground effect returned in 2022, but the Briton noticed the new Prancing Horse has a “weak link” within it.

“Compared to the Red Bull the car is bouncing,” Davidson said on F1 TV.

“That’s one thing that Ferrari have never seen to completely get rid of in a car.

“You see it there, the front just fluttering up and down, those inconsistencies of ride height change sparking away again as it goes over the bumps at Turn 1.

“Just seems like they still haven’t fixed that, which I see is a bit of a weak link in their design philosophy at Ferrari.”

Read more: Ferrari’s ‘weak design philosophy’ mooted as SF-24 bounces in Bahrain

Mercedes boosted by FIA approval of front wing innovation

PlanetF1.com understands that the innovative ‘legality wire’ deployed on the front wing of the Mercedes W15 has been given approval by the FIA, and Toto Wolff expanded on the conversations the team have been having with the governing body.

He told media including PlanetF1.com in Bahrain: “I think what is being put on the car is always following an exchange with the FIA all through the process.

“There is no such thing of having a clever idea and bolting it on without checking, so there is a long process of dialogue over the winter, so I feel we are in an OK place.”

Read more: Mercedes receive FIA boost as Toto Wolff shares innovative front wing details

Max Verstappen reacts after flying start to F1 testing

Having made an excellent start to F1 testing on Wednesday, Verstappen gave a simple assessment of his day, believing his RB20 was nice to drive from the beginning.

“Overall, the car was responding well and considering this was only testing we had a nice day,” he said.

“Looking to tomorrow, we are speaking to our engineers about what the plans will be, but I am looking forward to getting into the car in the afternoon.”

Read more: Max Verstappen reacts to ominous F1 testing pace in first proper Red Bull RB20 outing

Daniel Ricciardo assesses RB’s chances after solid debut

As for Red Bull’s newly renamed sister team, Daniel Ricciardo went fourth fastest on the first day of testing in Bahrain, and he admitted that the Faenza-based team have built a “decent car” for the year ahead.

He’s remaining “cautious” about their prospects however, with their sights set on the front of the midfield but without certainty it will be possible from the beginning.

He told media including PlanetF1.com: “I know some people are quite excited about us coming into the season, but I want to play a little bit cautious because we have a decent car, but we still have a lot of work to do.”

Read more: Daniel Ricciardo remaining ‘cautious’ despite RB debuting ‘decent car’ in Bahrain