The 75th season of Formula One will be the sport's longest, with a mammoth 24 tracks set to host races over the 2024 season. Not only will we have F1 racing in the most grands prix in a single year, but the teams and drivers must prepare for a marathon, with the first official session starting in February and the final lap coming in December. Strap in for the long haul if you're following F1 in 2024.
After saying hello to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Miami, and Las Vegas in recent years, there are no new venues for racing in 2024. Two events that didn’t take place in 2023 are the reason for the extended schedule, with the Emilia Romagna GP at Imola and the Chinese GP at Shanghai set to return. Extreme flooding and COVID canceled their appearances in 2023, in what would've been an equally long season had they gone ahead.
With no new drivers in 2024, is there anything fresh to see? Well, there's no denying the year will feel rather similar. A season-opening round in Bahrain after a handful of pre-season test days beforehand will start us off again, as will Middle Eastern neighbor Abu Dhabi closing out the year at Yas Marina. The European season remains between May and September, with that brief break to stop at Canada remaining in June. So far, so familiar, but there are a handful of noteworthy changes.
The Japanese GP is entering brand new territory. The trip to Suzuka has traditionally always come at the tail-end of the year, with multiple championship-deciding races coming in Japan. That's not so for 2024, and after a Bahrain-Saudi Arabia double-header to open up the year on March 2nd and 9th, F1 has tried to group the next trio of races geographically. Australia comes next on March 24th, with Japan on April 7th, and China rounding it out on April 21st.
Fall weather in Japan means it is seldom a hot and sunny event, with rain affecting plenty of Japanese GP in the past. This springtime relocation is unlikely to change this too much, with similar historical rainfall over April as in October, but there are much cooler low temperatures early in the year.
The grouping of China and Australia together makes some logistical sense. However, it does leave its previous twinning with Singapore to negate all benefits and leave some questioning how effective the alteration is in reducing transport times — one of F1's aims with this calendar.
Subsequent months look the same as recent seasons, as Miami settles into its early-season spot this year on May 5th, before F1 heads to Europe. Emilia Romagna's return on May 19th precedes the immovable Jewel in the Crown event — the Monaco GP — on May 26th, and the annual late-spring Canadian trip to Montreal comes on June 9th.
The first of three 2024 triple-header races follows, with Spain, Austria, and Britain seeing the circus zooming through on June 23rd, June 30th, and July 7th. And there's barely any rest, with one week separating the subsequent double-header at Hungary on July 21st and Spa on July 28th before the summer break. Solitary races are a thing of the past by this point in the year, with the summer break serving as a welcome interruption before another double-header, with the Dutch and Italian GPs on August 25th and September 1st.
At the other extreme of calendar changes is Azerbaijan, which moves to September 15th to end the European racing rather than begin it. It comes back-to-back with Singapore (September 22nd), which doesn't seem too logical initially. However, when you realize Baku is 'only' 1200 miles further from Singapore than Japan, it does make sense. That rationality continues when you consider there's a lengthy three-week break between Singapore and an Americas triple-header at Austin (October 20th), Mexico City (October 27th), and Sao Paulo (November 3rd).
Now reaching the final stretch, one final triple-header concludes the 2024 season, with Las Vegas preceding two Middle Eastern races on November 23rd. Qatar was an oddly placed race in 2023 between Japan and the USA. It now finds itself as the penultimate round on December 1st, with a relatively short 6-hour drive to Abu Dhabi closing the show on December 8th. That's an incredibly late end to the year, almost beating 2020's Covid-affected December 13th finale, but we're sure the teams and drivers will be more than happy to switch off by then.
You might think 24 grands prix is plenty to keep you busy, but F1 isn't done yet. There are actually going to be 30 races for fans to keep tabs on, thanks to the return of the still-contentious F1 Sprint. The shorter-form 100 km dash to the finish features at six rounds to add a half-dozen more point-scoring opportunities. Brazil maintains its unbroken streak of hosting Sprint, with China, Miami, Austria, Qatar, and the US GP also welcoming the additional weekend race.
In 2023, the sport changed the sprint format to become a self-contained day on Saturday. The introduction of Sprint Shootout, a shorter-than-usual qualifying session, to set the grid for the race a few hours later, meant a mistake in Sprint wouldn't ruin a driver's Grand Prix. These were welcome modifications, and there are suggestions that further alterations could appear next year. However, F1 announced the revised 2023 mere days before the first Sprint, so expect an equally tight-lipped approach in 2024.
Whatever the schedule, though, the three years we've had Sprint feature in the sport has meant a reduction of Free Practice sessions. For tracks like Silverstone and the Red Bull Ring, staples of the sport, and junior single-seater racing, that's not too impactful. Teams and drivers have countless laps of experience to draw from.
That's not the case for next year's Chinese GP, though. Teams haven't raced there since 2019 with F1's prior regulations. Meanwhile, Yuki Tusnoda, Oscar Piastri, Logan Sargeant, and home driver Guanyu Zhou will all face the Shanghai International Circuit for the first time — all with a single hour of practice to familiarize themselves.
So there you have it, 11 months with F1 action across 21 countries and 24 venues for 30 races. That's a lot of on-track activity for you to enjoy. Who will reign supreme in 2024? Can Max Verstappen take his fourth consecutive title? Will Lewis Hamilton break records by taking his eighth? Or will a new champion step forward to make history? Find out when F1 returns for 2024.