Echo Buzz: A Recap of F1

It’s lights out and away we go! With the roar of engines, champagne-covered podiums, and waves of the infamous chequered flag, we now find ourselves at the halfway point of the Formula 1 2024 season. It is safe to say that this season has been nothing short of exhilarating; filled with endless drama, shocking crashes, record-breaking wins and more.

The Pre-Season Tea!

Before delving deeper into what happened during the season, it is imperative to know what took place right before it. The morning of February 1st 2024 shocked the motorsports world, as news broke that Lewis Hamilton (the 7-time World Champion from the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team) now has a seat in Scuderia Ferrari for 2025. This was unexpected, especially since Hamilton has stayed consistent with the team ever since he first signed with them back in 2013.

In Formula 1, a team can only have two drivers. Naturally, with this concept, one driver for Scuderia Ferrari has to be kicked out for Hamilton to have a seat. This driver is none other than Carlos Sainz Jr. This earned mixed reactions from the public, especially with Sainz being a fan favourite, but expectedly, so is Hamilton. Some people think Ferrari should not have replaced Sainz, especially with him being the only non-Red Bull driver to have won in the 2023 season. Others seem conflicted about Hamilton donning the red suit. As a result of this shocking revelation, fans can’t help but ponder in frustration, ‘Which team will Carlos Sainz drive for now?’.

With no seat in the sport, Sainz started the season with a newfound determination to prove himself and to gain a seat for the 2025 season. Knowing this is his last year with Scuderia Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc, each race proves to be bittersweet for the fans, as we edge closer and closer to the final race with this iconic duo.

Moments that pull at our heartstrings

  1. The Formula behind Max Verstappen

The 2024 season kicked off in Bahrain on February 29th, with Oracle Red Bull Racing driver, Max Verstappen, winning the race. Verstappen has always been a talented driver, especially knowing he won almost every race the previous year. To emphasise how well he’s done in this race, Verstappen won by a 22-second time gap from teammate Sergio Perez, who placed second. While some fans are frustrated with the constant repetition of podium placing for the driver (especially knowing he’s always at the top), there is no denying that Verstappen’s consistency is to be admired. At the end of the day, even with Perez having the same car, Max Verstappen proves that Formula 1 isn’t necessarily just about the type of car you drive, but it is truly about the driver’s talent. 

Verstappen’s consistency was unwavering in the following race; Saudi Arabia. On March 10th, Verstappen earned the top spot on the podium once again. While this season proves to be more challenging for the driver compared to the 2023 season, he still has managed to prove he’s one of the best, as he wins the Japan, China and Emilia-Romagna races. 

  1. A Curse is Broken!

Growing up in Monaco, Charles Leclerc had the opportunity of watching the track get set up, and the grandstands be built. This is what shaped his lifelong dream of becoming a Ferrari Formula 1 driver and winning in Monaco. However, that dream has always come so close yet so far.

Fans of the sport are aware that Leclerc doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to his home races. Whenever he comes relatively close to winning, he almost immediately has the opportunity stripped away, whether it be due to the wrong team strategy, sudden crashes, or penalties. This has become an infamous subject in the sport, known as Leclerc’s ‘Monaco Curse’. Nonetheless, despite his lack of luck, his fans continue to support him and have high hopes every year. After all, all good things come to those who wait. 

On May 6th 2024, fans sat at the edge of their seats as Leclerc led the race. Nobody wanted to celebrate early, knowing anything could go wrong at any minute; it’s happened before, after all. By the 77th lap (the race had 78 laps), everyone started to realise that Leclerc’s dream could finally become a reality, and that, it did! The crowd roared as Leclerc passed the finish line at his home race, with celebrations all across the country. This broke records as he is the first Monegasque driver to win the Monaco Grand Prix since 1931; even the Prince of Monaco (Prince Albert II) was there to congratulate him!

  1. Appendix Removals and Fresh Debuts

Fans started the race week off in distress, when word came through that Carlos Sainz wasn’t feeling well. While Sainz pushed through with the first two practice sessions, temporarily easing everyone’s concerns, he was later diagnosed with appendicitis, which required immediate surgery. Just when everyone pondered what Scuderia Ferrari’s next move would be, it was confirmed that reserve driver (and current Formula 2 Prema Racing Driver), Oliver Bearman, will be stepping in to replace Sainz. 

Being just 18 years old at the time, and with only one practice session to warm up to the car, Bearman knew he had some expectations to fill. Thankfully, he gained immediate support from the fans and drivers on the grid, as everyone welcomed him with open arms. Miraculously, he did anything but disappoint. Bearman qualified in 11th place, which is already impressive for someone with so little experience compared to the other drivers. However, what really pulled at our heartstrings was when Bearman crossed the finish line in 7th place, earning more points than most of the drivers on the grid! It is safe to say that the young driver has a bright future ahead of him, and this debut will be one for the books. 

On Carlos’s end, while he couldn’t drive, he did attend the race right after his successful surgery to show his support for Bearman and his team. While he dedicated the next two weeks to recovering, he returned better than ever. 

  1. Forza Ferrari!

When Max Verstappen’s car had to be retired from the Australian Grand Prix, the top step of the podium was now up for grabs, and the driver who took that placement was Carlos Sainz. Sainz used this opportunity to showcase his talent and potential, earning the interest of other teams with open seats for the 2025 season. With this being just 2 weeks after his surgery, and as he spent his time recovering instead of training, this win was especially impressive. This was a double podium finish for Ferrari, with teammate Charles Leclerc placing second and McLaren driver, Lando Norris at third. This became a fan-favourite podium, quickly becoming one of the more eventful races of the 2024 season so far. 

  1. A Single Point Makes All the Difference

Straying away from the Red Bull and Ferrari drivers, the Japanese Grand Prix is the home race to Visa Cash App RB Formula 1 team driver, Yuki Tsunoda. Fans were eagerly rooting for Tsunoda this weekend. Thankfully, he made his country proud by scoring a point. 

  1. An Ultimatum 

While on the topic of Visa Cash App RB, Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo also drives for the team. Ricciardo has been in the sport for years, with his debut being back in 2011. While he was one of the strongest drivers on the grid years ago, he has been constantly outshined recently by teammate, Yuki Tsunoda. It was in the first week of May that rumours began spreading online, stating that Ricciardo was given an ultimatum; to perform well for the Miami Grand Prix, or he’d be kicked out entirely. 

Fans eagerly crossed their fingers during the race weekend, hoping for luck to be on Ricciardo’s side. Thankfully, the driver managed to place fourth in Miami’s Sprint Race, earning five points. 

  1. A First Win to Remember

Debuting back in 2019, McLaren driver Lando Norris has never had a taste of victory in Formula 1. For one reason or another, he’s always edged closer and closer to winning but has never secured that top spot on the podium. Fortunately for him, the fact of the matter changed when it came to the 2024 Miami Grand Prix. As Norris didn’t qualify in first place, nobody expected the British driver to climb up the grid as fast as he did. 

After a Safety Car was deployed, Norris was already in the pits to change his tyres. This gave him a lead in the race, as he started at the front once the race resumed. For every lap after, Norris led the race, which finally ended in his first victory. Fans were elated, and he gained endless congratulations from his team, other drivers and even other teams. One can only hope he keeps these wins consistent, perhaps just as consistent as Verstappen one day. 

The HOT Tea!

  1. AUSTRALIA – No Spares and Sudden Switches

During Practice 1, Williams Racing driver, Alex Albon, crashed his car into turn 6. Due to this, Albon had to sit out of Practice 2, while the Williams team contemplated their next move. They eventually decided to let Albon drive teammate Logan Sargeant’s car for the main race. This earned mixed reactions from the public, with some deeming it being better for the team (since Sargeant doesn’t exactly cater the best points), while some debate this is unfair on Sargeant, as he wasn’t the one who crashed the car, and shouldn’t be kicked out of his own. Albon and Sargeant both spoke out, stating that there were no hard feelings and that they were simply following the team’s decision. 

  1. AUSTRALIA – Verstappen’s on Fire (Literally!)

In the fourth lap of the race, Verstappen’s car started smoking from the back. Due to this issue, he immediately made his way back to the pits to retire from the race, catching the crowd’s attention as the camera panned to a tyre set on fire. When asked about the issue, Verstappen explained that the car’s right-rear brake was stuck, causing additional heat. 

  1. AUSTRALIA – ‘Stuck in the Middle’

Mercedes’s luck wasn’t any better, if not worse. On the 15th lap, Lewis Hamilton failed to continue racing due to a power unit failure. George Russell, on the other hand, lasted much longer than Hamilton, but it was definitely under worse circumstances. Towards the end of the race, Russell’s car smashed into a barrier, causing the car to be stuck in the middle of the track. This was worrisome, as Russell wasn’t able to get out, leaving him at the risk of being hit by one of the other cars. This is especially dangerous knowing that Formula 1 cars drive at over 200mph. Luckily, a yellow flag was pulled out by the FIA, ensuring his safety. 

  1. CHINA – ‘Stroll-ing’ 

The 2024 Chinese Grand Prix was anything but uneventful. Aston Martin Aramco Formula One Team driver Lance Stroll was given a 10-second penalty after a collision with Daniel Ricciardo. Stroll drove straight into the rear of Ricciardo’s car, sending his car up in the air. The frustrating issue here is that Stroll could have easily seen Ricciardo’s car, as the cars weren’t even driving at full speed; it was a Safety Car lap (when all drivers have to slow down due to issues on the track). Due to the damage caused by the collision, Ricciardo had to retire from the race early, while the FIA charged a penalty upon Stroll. Fans were left devastated, knowing Ricciardo was doing so well. 

The real issue with this is the drivers’ interactions after the race. When asked about the collision and the penalty, Stroll commented that he thought the penalty was ‘a joke’. On Ricciardo’s end, he revealed that Stroll didn’t even apologise for his mistake. For the rest of the season, so far, Ricciardo has yet to score any points, and the thought of this serves as a constant reminder of his missed opportunity back in China. 

  1. SAUDI ARABIA, CHINA, MIAMI – A Menace in Magnussen

Haas F1 Racing Team driver, Kevin Magnussen was creating problem after problem throughout the first half of the season. This has caused him to get dangerously close to the penalty point limit set by the FIA. For context, for every time a driver goes against the rules set for Formula 1, the FIA will charge them with penalty points, varying from the severity of the rule break. If, in any case, a driver has an overall total of 12 penalty points, they will automatically be banned from a race. 

It all started at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, when Magnussen caused a collision with Alex Albon. This came with the consequence of 3 penalty points. The Danish driver’s luck wasn’t in his favour when it came to the Chinese Grand Prix either. Magnussen was wholly to blame for Yuki Tsunoda’s crash, costing him 2 penalty points. Finally, when the Miami Sprint Race came around, Magnussen was battling on track with Lewis Hamilton on the 14th lap. Magnussen ended up cheating by leaving the track and cutting through, earning him an advantage. This rakes up his penalty points by 3 points. As if that wasn’t controversial enough, Magnussen, once again, caused a collision with Logan Sargeant on the 30th lap, adding 2 points to his penalty point total. This was just a day after the incident with Hamilton, easily making this the driver’s worst race week. 

If Magnussen isn’t careful, he will be the first driver to ever reach the 12-point penalty limit. With 16 races left in the season, Magnussen has to ensure he keeps his record clean if he wants to remain in the sport and gain a seat for the 2025 season. 


This season so far has already delivered its fair share of unforgettable moments, and with 16 races to go, there will undoubtedly be more memories to come. Will Max Verstappen win the Drivers’ Championship for his fourth consecutive year? Will Lando Norris or Charles Leclerc dethrone Verstappen from the top spot? Only time will tell! With exciting home races to come, and an upcoming bittersweet ending to the season for Sainz, Leclerc and Hamilton at Abu Dhabi, the 2024 season is far from over. With that being said, it’s time to kick back, relax and enjoy the season. Signing off, stay tuned for our next season update in December, with brand new highlights, drama, high-speed races and more!

Written by: Ashley Anne Danker

Edited by: Tisyha

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