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Next Event Starts in:
3hrs 24min - MotoGP Qualifying
May 22, 2024
GridRival Crew

With a few races behind us, we here at GridRival decided it would be a good time to recap team performances so far this season. But with the top teams mainly being who we thought they'd be (though that is shifting over the last several races), we thought it would be fun to assess how the season has gone so far for the backmarkers, where we have seen some drastic differences between preseason expectations vs on track performance. Matthew Harper tackled Williams and Sauber, Garrett Ball took on Alpine and Haas, and editor Brendan Burns handled the rising Racing Bulls.


It’s been an unusual start to the season for Williams. Their 7th place finish in 2023 seemed like a solid step forward which makes their pointless start to 2024 seem extremely disappointing. This poor start appears to be the product of a difficult winter. The new car was late, under developed and overweight with the team recently admitting that the car is around 15 kg above the minimum weight limit costing them around four and half tenths of a second in lap time. On top of this both cars have suffered multiple heavy crashes in the first few flyaway races putting pressure on the teams capped budget for the season. 

There are positive signs however. The actual monocoque of the car is 14 kg lighter than last year which is an impressive feat, with future updates aiming to get the last of the additional weight out of the car. Behind the scenes is a huge effort to modernize a team that has been described as a decade or so out of date. 2024 seems to be a case of one step back and, hopefully, several steps forward for 2025 onwards.          


Sadly it’s time to drop the “Alpine is a tractor” memes, though to be fair they are still funny. Sauber has taken their place in that department, but Williams is not far behind (or ahead, depending how you want to look at it…not far off from tractor status, there). They scored their first point back in Miami thanks to Esteban Ocon and are eighth in constructors standings. Its a massive improvement when comparing their pace now to what it was the beginning of the year went they spent the majority of the practice, qualifying, and race sessions near dead last. It’s hard to believe how quickly they turned things around when the likes of Williams and Sauber are still struggling to crack the top-14 in most races, almost as if they are driving a completely different (and better) car!


Sauber have had, arguably, the most anonymous start to 2024. They have scored 0 points and, on countback, are last in the teams championship. Zhou Guanyu is yet to get out of Q1 although teammate Valtteri Bottas has fared better even making Q3 in China. Much like last year's car the C44 seems balanced and easy to drive but the pace just isn’t there whilst midfield rivals RB and Haas have really kicked on. 

Time is running out for Sauber to prove that the additional investment and hiring of personnel is moving them forward before Audi fully takes over in 2026. Signing Nico Hulkenberg to take them into the Audi era is a sensible move but are they doing enough to convince someone like Carlos Sainz to take a gamble on the Audi project?


Haas has put doubters to shame with their performance so far this season. I’ll take it a step further, they put their own team principal to shame after he commented “we’ll be at the back” to start the season. A big part of it seems to be that they solved their tyre degradation issues. Their engine supplier, Ferrari, is in a similar spot as well, so it looks like teams are solving that issue since the regulation changes back in 2022. Haas has been a good qualifying car since 2023, especially with Nico Hulkenberg at the helm, but they now have a good race car as well. That's a big factor as to why they are seventh in constructors standings; a place many thought where Williams should be at this time.

Racing Bulls

Despite a tough start to the 2024 season, the Racing Bulls team has made significant progress since their rebranding. As we move towards our eighth race of the season, Team RB has finished in the points in four races thus far, leaving them with 20 points in the constructors’ standings. While that may seem like a meager sum when compared to our front of the pack teams, RB finished last season with 25 constructor’s points, so this early season’s success is really setting them up to finish ahead of their past selves. Yuki Tsunoda has certainly found his pace, scoring in four of the last five races, and while Daniel Ricciardo has been trailing behind, his 4th place sprint finish shows that the speed is there. Team RB has done well implementing tweaks and changes to their car, so one can only hope that the early season momentum will continue to carry them through the end of the 2024 season and the future seasons to come.  

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