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Red Bull Racing

The critical area teams are pursuing to close Red Bull's gap

There will be a key battleground that teams will exploit as they look to close the gap to Red Bull on track.

Alpine pitstop
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To news overview © XPBimages

Catching up to Red Bull is the main objective of Formula 1 teams in 2024. Keen to avoid another white wash, the winter break will be spent refining their car concepts and taking away key learnings to close the gap.

The stability of the regulations year-on-year should enable Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren and Aston Martin to make something of their promising pace last year.

Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner expects the field to converge, although given that their RB19 was hardly updated throughout 2023 the status quo should stay in their favour.

Aston Martin Team Principal Mike Krack expects the pecking order to stay relatively the same throughout 2024, as more will opt to follow Red Bull's car design concept. But there is another area that they will make gains to pursue their rivals on track.

The regulations are not due another overhaul until 2026, when there will be smaller cars with active aero and a new powertrain concept. To regain performance, one of the key areas will be a focus on trackside operations.

Better strategy and improved pit stop times are set to make the difference in the fight against Red Bull, especially as the top 18 cars can often be separated by just over half a second in qualifying sessions.

"[The stability] is then also putting more emphasis on operations again because if the cars are close together, it's really the small details that make the difference on the grid position," Krack told Motorsport.

"[The tight gaps in qualifying] will only get smaller, I think, over the years to come."

Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff has shone a spotlight on pit stops, after admitting they have fallen well behind.

The team failed to make the top 10 fastest pit stops throughout the 2023 season, with McLaren leading the way followed by Ferrari and Red Bull - all of whom managed a sub-two second pit stop.

With increased focus on the science and equipment, expect teams to maximise this area of competitiveness in their pursuit of unseating Red Bull's comfortable dominance.

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