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2024 Formula season kicks off with surprising events

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Sean Rogers/The Olaf Messenger


What is Formula Racing? To put it simply, it’s fast cars going around a track for about 50 laps almost every Sunday. Most die-hard fans are going to hate me for saying that. Formula Racing is the premiere form of car racing in the world — sorry to all the NASCAR lovers, but it’s true. There are five important series within the sport: Formula E (electric cars), Formula One Academy (women’s racing), Formula 3, Formula 2, and finally, Formula 1. The most notable series out of the five is Formula 1. There are 10 teams on the grid, the most notabe being Mercedes, Ferrari, and Red Bull. Each season, the teams compete in 23 races spanning across the globe. Whether you’re new to the sport, a long-time fan, or just want to know more about it, here are the top four Formula news from the season so far: 


  1. Max Verstappen remains undefeated 

Red Bull Driver Max Verstappen has begun this season with a back to back win at both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. This comes after a 19 race win record in the previous season. At a race in Saudi Arabia, Verstappen was consistently about 13 seconds ahead of his teammate, Checo Perez, who placed second. Red Bull’s consistency combined with Verstappen’s insane driving skills are keeping him at number one and beating records. In the race for World Champion, Verstappen is about 30 points ahead of the rest of the grid. For Red Bull and Verstappen fans, the season is looking to be in their favor, while the rest are looking at another season of hearing the Dutch national anthem as Verstappen comes in first place. 


  1. Ollie Bearman becomes youngest driver in Formula 1 

What kept most entertained during the Saudi Arabia race was the debut of Formula 2 Driver Ollie Bearman, who made his debut as the youngest driver in Formula 1 history at 18 years old. Bearman was called up to replace Ferrari Driver Carlos Sainz as he was out on medical leave for an appendicitis surgery. Starting in 11th place, Bearman ended the race in seventh ahead of McLaren Driver Lando Norris and Seven-Time World Champion Mercedes Driver Lewis Hamilton. Though Bearman only served as a reserve driver in Ferrari’s Formula 1 team, his performance showed fans that they may be seeing more of  him in the Formula 1 grid in the near future. 


  1. Lewis Hamilton moves to Ferrari in 2025

Formula is certainly not boring. Before the start of the season, it was leaked that Lewis Hamilton will be leaving his team of 11 years, Mercedes, for the Italian-legacy team, Ferrari, at the end of the 2024 season. This comes as a huge surprise as Hamilton gave no indication during the last season that he was planning on switching teams. However, at the end of the 2023 season, he only renewed his contract with Mercedes for another two years. The question everyone is asking now is: where will Carlos Sainz go? Between the two Ferrari drivers, Sainz was the only whose contract didn’t get renewed with the team. There is a chance that he could go to Mercedes or that he could join Audi in 2026. However, Sainz’s seat in Formula 1 is still up in the air despite his podium-winning race in Bahrain where he placed third. 


  1. Red Bull Team Principal under investigation of sexual allegations

Red Bull has been the talk of the past two seasons, and not just because of their drivers, Verstappen and Perez, but because of their Team Principal, Christian Horner. Sexual misconduct allegations have come out against Horner from a Red Bull employee, who was recently fired due to these allegations. Despite concrete evidence that has come out and an investigation underway, Horner is determined to stay. Because of this, rumors are circulating that Verstappen has been advised by his father, Jos Verstappen, to leave the team if Horner stays, and he is not the only one — Chief Technology Officer Adrian Newey and future engine partner Ford are rumored to leave as well if Horner remain Team Principal. Red Bull Director Helmut Marko was rumored to leave, but those were ended through an ESPN article that says he will be staying with the team until his contract ends in 2027. 


Being a female fan of any sport, especially Formula Racing, is a difficult thing. It’s a man’s club. You are constantly being questioned on your knowledge of the sport, and whether or not you are an actual fan. Horner’s sexual misconduct allegations have shed light on how much work Formula Racing still has to do to make the sport a welcoming space for those who are not a cis, hetero, white man. Though the responses of some drivers and others in the paddock have been disheartening as a female fan in regards to Horner’s sexual misconduct allegations, I’m still excited to watch the season. As Sports Commentator Laura Winter said at the race in Saudi Arabia, “[women] are here to stay and we are right where we belong.”

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