The 2024 Formula One season officially starts at the end of February when the team travels to Bahrain for a group test to shake off three months of rust before the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix. But before all of it, the teams present to the public their 2024 rivals. Get ready to shoot off.
An F1 car launch is what?
Each Formula 1 team unveils their new vehicles and announces their major goals for the upcoming season during a car launch, often known as a reveal. It’s one of the busiest times of the year for all teams, whether it’s a lavish celebration attended by celebrities or a virtual event showcasing the first official photos of the new machine.
Each year, all ten teams introduce a new vehicle in the lead-up to the season’s opening race. The vehicles that finished the previous season would typically no longer be permitted to race due to changes in the Technical Regulations; however, even in the event that the regulations remained the same (and 2024 is remarkably close to 2023), the teams would still introduce fresh ideas in an attempt to outperform their competitors.
Not always was that the case. Teams would use cars for numerous years in the far, far past. That went out of style in the 1980s, although teams continued to use the same vehicle for the first few races of the season far into the 2000s.
However, that no longer occurs. Despite having to use most of their 2020 ideas due to the Covid-19 epidemic, teams were still able to produce something significantly new at the beginning of 2021. Their old car would simply not be fast enough to compete given the speed at which Formula One is developing.
How long does it take to build a new Formula One car?
It takes roughly 18 months of labour, though it fluctuates because Formula 1 teams adopt different strategies based on the situation they are in at the moment.
There is a 14-week off-season between the last race of one season and the first race of the next. The story usually presents the teams as using this downtime to design their new automobile in order to keep things simple. Although the teams will undoubtedly begin producing their new vehicles at this time, the truth is that car design usually begins far earlier.
The initial guidelines for a 2024 car will be established in the autumn of 2022, and as time goes on, more and more personnel and funding will be allocated to it until, by the summer of 2023, a design team will be entirely focused on it.
The designs of the cars that will be unveiled in the next weeks will have been “frozen” in the autumn of 2023, enabling production to start (while the designers start work on their first update package).
What is a reveal of an F1 livery?
Not every vehicle launch is an official event; occasionally, teams choose to do a “livery reveal.” Although this idea is not new, it has gained popularity in the current period as teams hold events to reveal the new car’s design without really revealing the vehicle.
Teams may not want to show their car for a variety of reasons, but there are just as many reasons why they would like to publicise their new campaign. The compromise is to release the livery. The new car’s colorways and sponsorship programme are unveiled to the public. However, it is painted (or wrapped in vinyl) and adhered to an outdated chassis.
The new automobile isn’t finished, which is a usual reason for the livery launch. Teams can maximise the amount of work that can be done on the new automobile before a design freeze by pushing a design programme “aggressively late.”
While teams who finish building their cars until the end of February (and it’s not uncommon for parts to arrive on the first day of the pre-season test) have invested an extra month in their designs before locking them down, teams who display a genuine new car at the end of January may have frozen that design the previous October in order to start production.
For aficionados of the cloak-and-dagger strategy, however, there are occasions when the new car’s intriguing features are the cause for a livery debut—things the team would prefer to keep secret until absolutely required. Teams with the intention of preventing their rivals from quickly analysing and potentially copying their idea conceal it until the start of testing, or often even later.
Of course, there are more commonplace justifications for revealing the livery, such as the increased exposure due to the car’s effective double launch. A launch attracts a lot of media attention. A marketing department eager to draw attention from sponsors and partners will find value in showcasing the livery on one date and the automobile on another.
In all honesty, the automobile is likely to have some outdated or phoney parts on it, even at a “genuine” launch ceremony. Teams are usually a little nervous about what they’re ready to show off, so it’s unlikely that the entire vehicle will be on display at the launch unless they’re combining it with a shakedown test.
Whether it’s a live launch or an online event, F1 teams typically take care to present the car at an angle, which makes it challenging for anyone trying to obtain precise geometry information. They also typically try to completely conceal the rear of the car, keeping their rear suspension and diffuser configurations a secret until their vehicle rockets out of the pits during pre-season.
Why don’t car launches happen for every Formula One team?
Teams may decide that a launch event is not important enough to bother with at all. It’s conceivable that the team will just roll the new car into pit lane right before the first testing session if none of the aforementioned requirements are vital to them.
In front of their garage, the drivers and senior staff will pose with the car so that the F1 photographer’s team may capture the images that will be used for the first few races of the season and possibly for decades to come. Following this, the team principal, drivers, or technical staff may answer a few questions, or they may choose not to as some teams prefer to let the vehicle speak for itself because there will be a lot going on during the first day of testing.