2024 will be an odd Formula 1 season.
In that, for the first time ever, every driver who finished the 2023 campaign will be back, in the same seat, for 2024 and there are no new tracks joining the schedule.
The technical regulations are remaining stable as well, so everything feels rather static. However, there are plenty of changes in the offering.
While yet to be officially confirmed, the meeting of the F1 Commission at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix made clear that major changes are going to be made to the Sprint weekend format.
In 2023, the Sprint Shootout was added to in effect, create standalone Sprint events during the Grand Prix weekend, with GP qualifying on a Friday before the race on Sunday.
A seperate qualifying session for the Sprint was held on Saturday morning before that race in the afternoon.
But the feeling was this format created too many problems.
Firstly, after just 60 minutes of practice, cars would enter parc ferme after Grand Prix qualifying, locking them into a set-up for the rest of the weekend.
In the United States, Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc were disqualified from second and third for excessive plank wear that Mercedes and Ferrari felt came from limited practice running to determine the ride-height.
As such format and parc ferme changes are being discussed ahead of another six Sprints in 2024 - taking place in China, Miami, Austria, the United States, Brazil and Qatar.
Viewed by others:
Grand Prix of China, Imola Grand Prix and the longest calendar ever
24 races were originally on the 2023 calendar, before China was cancelled due to COVID restrictions, with the Emilia Romagna GP at Imola also being called off due to heavy rain and the idea of running an international sporting event in a disaster zone and directing away emergency personnel from search and rescue efforts not being the best.
But both return in 2024 - with China set to host its first race since 2019.
F1 has not visited Shanghai since the outbreak of COVID-19, with the last race being the 1,000th World Championship Grand Prix. The 2023 season-ending Abu Dhabi race was #1101.
24 Grands Prix is two-thirds the length of a points NASCAR Cup calendar with 36 events in stock car racing's highest level.
NASCAR actually hosts 40 Cup races per year, with the non-points Clash, Duels at Daytona and the All-Star exhibition race.
New team names
Alfa Romeo and AlphaTauri will be no more in 2024.
Alfa Romeo ended their title sponsorship of Sauber - who have since announced a deal to be known as Stake F1 Team for 2024 and 2025.
This is preparation for Audi's arrival in 2026.
As for AlphaTauri, its new name is still to be announced with the tea set to enjoy closer collaboration with Red Bull under its new leadership of Laurent Mekies and Peter Bayer.
Right of review
The technical regulations remain the same, but the FIA has changed the rules around protests.
In 2023, Haas submitted a right of review request, nearly two weeks after the United States Grand Prix, as it felt new evidence had come to light over track limit violations in Austin that were not penalised.
The stewards threw the case out, but the FIA felt that having uncertainty about a race result so long after was far from beneficial and so has moved to close that timeframe to just four days - or 96 hours.
The Qatar GP in October was a mix of unfortunate events that combined to take a serious effect on the health of the drivers.
Firstly, the track itself is already physically demanding with multiple high speed and high G corners, which coupled with a lack of wind for cooling impacted the drivers.
This added to the fact that every driver was pushing flat out as an 18 lap maximum stint length had been imposed on safety grounds meant the drivers took a battering.
Esteban Ocon vomited in his helmet, Lance Stroll claimed he lost consciousness behind the wheel while Logan Sargeant retired with severe dehydration.
As such, the FIA has mandated that cooling scoops will be on every car in 2024 to channel more air to the driver, with other options also under consideration.