All you need to know about the 2024 car’s debut

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While teams were focused on finding performance for the remaining races in the middle of 2023, work was ongoing behind the scenes to prepare the newest F2 machine for competition.

A series of tests conducted by Felipe Drugovich and Tatiana Calderon put the F2 2024 car through its paces before teams got their hands on one at the end of last year.

This week, all 11 teams were out on track trialling the new car at a shakedown event in Barcelona, but what actually happens at a shakedown and why are they so important?

Formula 2 Technical Director Pierre-Alain Michot explains all.

“The shakedown we did is to make sure that the teams can have a first test of the car before going to Bahrain,” he says. “It’s just done with one car so they can fully focus on the intricacies of the operation of the car instead of splitting their attentions across two.

“They get two sets of tyres, they can run both drivers if they wish during the day, there’s no requirement in that respect for both drivers to be on track.

“They can do whatever mileage they wish to also. The only thing we limit is the number of sets of tyres they can use in the dry. Fortunately, the weather was good so there were no limitations in terms of run plans.”

The shakedown is much less about finding an ideal setup for the specific circuit in question but instead is intended to help teams get to grips as quickly as possible with the new machinery that will be used this season.

Teams have been preparing their new cars back at their respective factories over the winter break, but the shakedown event was the first time any of them were able to run on track and sets in the real world.

This ensures all of them get the same opportunity to learn the 2024 car and its intricacies compared to the previous generation. Learning as much as possible under controlled conditions ensures a fair and equal preparation ahead of the season getting underway in Bahrain.

All but two teams used both of their drivers to get them up to speed with the operating systems in the new car, and to gain as much track time as possible however limited to speed up their processes come Sakhir next month.

With the baselines established, operating procedures learned and plenty of data to analyse ahead of pre-season testing, the shakedown has been a hugely successful event for both the teams and the Championship.

“What we really want to be sure of is that all of the systems are working, and all of the teams are able to understand the new car in terms of systems, software and electronics,” Michot added. “Then you also have the setups, adjustments and mechanical changes you can make, but that will mainly come during testing in Bahrain.

READ MORE: A positive shakedown for the 2024 F2 car

“Teams still must follow the Sporting and Technical Regulations during a shakedown but it’s a bit of a more relaxed atmosphere than it is during testing where there’s a huge amount of work to get through. That will come during pre-season testing rather than this initial shakedown event.”

At the end of the day in Barcelona, a total of 649 laps and 3018kms of running was achieved between all of the teams and drivers, a substantial amount of track action ahead of the season getting underway. Andrea Kimi Antonelli was the busiest of all the drivers, recording 53 laps by himself for PREMA Racing.

With the one and only shakedown in the books, focus now switches fully onto the pre-season test days in Sakhir in February. All of the teams and drivers will get three days of on-track action ahead of the new campaign getting underway as part of their final preparations for the 2024 season.

The event kicks off on 11th February and runs to the 13th ahead of the first round taking place from 28th February – 1st March in Sakhir around the Bahrain International Circuit.

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