F1 Fantasy: top picks & predictions for the 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix


The 2024 F1 Fantasy season is finally here! Here are our predictions; tips on drivers to avoid; which chips to play and an analysis of how to get your campaign off to the right start

Bahrain 2024

Who will come out on top in Bahrain?

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With the first two free practice sessions of the 2024 F1 campaign now behind us, we’re now quickly accelerating toward both competitive action and the all important F1 Fantasy deadline — which expires ahead of qualifying on Friday 1 March at 4pm.

While we still no little about the different fuel levels and engine modes of all of the teams, there were some whose pace impressed. Daniel Ricciardo — who will set F1 Fantasy players back just $9m — set the fastest time of FP1 aboard his RB, followed by both McLaren’s. In FP2, the top of the timesheets were dominated by Mercedes with Fernando Alonso sitting a close third.

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The competitive picture is still quite murky, but if you have your eyes on success, getting it right for the first race is critical, according to 2022 F1 Fantasy champion Peter Olsen and last year’s winner David Jurca. Both said that their victorious runs built on a strong start at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Read on for our tips and predictions for the Bahrain Grand Prix, which we think offer the best chance of getting a flying start, and don’t forget to join the Motor Sport Fantasy league.

There’s more on the rules and scoring in our F1 Fantasy full guide; and if you need some creative inspiration, check out our F1 Fantasy team name generator. For more information on the chips available and when to use them, we’ve got an F1 Fantasy chips explainer too.

One big decision is whether to invest in Red Bull and Max Verstappen. Once again, they appear set to lead the way, after suggestions that they were running a low engine mode throughout testing and had impressively low tyre degradation on every compound — yet were consistently at the top end of the timesheets. However, after two seemingly troublesome practice sessions, the Dutchman could quickly become an expensive weakness in your F1 Fantasy line-up — given the fact that his $30m price tag takes up almost a third of the budget.

But thanks to some major price changes from last year, you could still be successful without the Milton Keynes outfit on your side.

2024 F1 Fantasy — biggest driver price increases and decreases 

Driver (price) 2023 cost (final) 2024 cost (start)
Oscar Piastri $15.4m $19m ↑3.6m
Daniel Ricciardo $5.5m $9m ↑3.5m
Lando Norris $19.8m $23m ↑3.2m
Nico Hulkenberg $6.2m $6.4m ↑0.2m
Driver (price) 2023 cost (final) 2024 cost (start)
Pierre Gasly $14.5m $7.8m ↓6.7m
Lewis Hamilton $25.3m $19.3m ↓6m
Esteban Ocon $13.5m $7.8m ↓5.7m
Charles Leclerc $23.5m $19.1m ↓4.4m

Picking from such a highly-contested trailing field could be tricky, but as 2022’s F1 Fantasy victor Peter Olsen previously told Motor Sport, players will need to strike a balance between taking risks and playing it safe in order to get your F1 Fantasy season off to a strong start.

We’ve run the numbers, and come up with plenty of options for a line-up which could do just that!

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How to get your F1 Fantasy season off to a good start in Bahrain

Both Peter Olsen (2022 F1 Fantasy champion) and David Jurca (2023 F1 Fantasy champion) have previously told Motor Sport that a positive start in Bahrain can kick off a run to the top of the leaderboards.

“I was inside the top 500 after the first race and just continued from there,” said Olsen. “But getting a good start was key.”

“Ultimately, you want to pick drivers who you know will score points out the gate quickly,” added Jurca “But avoid those who are prone to DNFs.”

As of now, the only information we can base our predictions on is from pre-season testing — where rumours of ‘sandbagging’ with low engine modes and high fuel levels are rife. Nevertheless, some teams appear to have revealed their true position more than others.


McLaren ❌

McLaren 2024

Will reliability issues prevent a title-challenge from Norris and McLaren?

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Following half a season of positive results, both Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri are now amongst some of the most expensive drivers on the grid — costing $23m and $19m respectively — while the constructor itself is second only to Red Bull in terms of cost ($23.2m). Many had tipped the papaya outfit to continue its new found form into 2024, but a problematic pre-season test could point toward another bumpy start to the new campaign.

Only two teams completed fewer laps than McLaren in pre-season testing, as running time was heavily depleted by numerous stoppages: a forced floor change on Day 1, a fuel system issue on Day 2, and a clutch problem on Day 3.

Of course, testing is all about solving problems before things get competitive, but even after an initially strong showing in Bahrain’s free practice sessions and with all McLaren assets now priced highly, your money may be spent best elsewhere.


Visa Cash App RB ✅

Visa Cash App RB

Could RB be the prize of the F1 midfield?

Red Bull

Taking after a more Red Bull-inspired design, Visa Cash App RB (or just RB as we’ve now come to call them) was impressive throughout pre-season testing and its form has continued throughout initial practice sessions in Bahrain. Not only did its car look poised and reliable but its driver line-up also looks set to impress, with both Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda ranking among the front-runners in back-to-back sessions — possibly resulting in big F1 Fantasy returns.

Yuki Tsunoda was one of the grid’s best overtakers last year — scoring over 120 F1 Fantasy points from positions gained — and has become a more reliable source of points for the Red Bull sister outfit as his time in F1 has progressed. For just $8m and potentially at the wheel of a car which could be a regular midfield contender, Tsunoda could quickly become of the best bang-for-your-buck options on the grid.

The same could be said for Daniel Ricciardo, who will be aiming to re-assert himself as a genuine threat to Sergio Perez‘s Red Bull seat across the 2024 campaign. A positive start in Bahrain would certainly turn heads, and for only $1m more than Tsunoda, your F1 Fantasy line-up could include an experienced F1 race winner with plenty more still to prove.


Alpine ❌

Alpine pre-season testing 2024

Alpine seemingly have some serious problems

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After replacing “everything but the steering wheel” in its 2024 F1 car, Alpine had hopes of returning to the front of the midfield after a season of underwhelming performance in 2023. But after a seemingly mediocre pre-season test, it looks as if problems remain rife in the Enstone camp.

According to reports, the A524 was overweight, aerodynamically inefficient, slow on a single lap and in long runs — leaving more high-end staff concerned about their futures. The woes continued during free practice, as the Enstone outfit ranked among the five slowest runners in both sessions. While this may all be a result of incredibly well-hidden ‘sandbagging’, it’s hardly the vote of confidence F1 Fantasy players were looking for.

Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon are both available for a reasonable $7.8m each, and could make for competitive budget options once we have a better understanding of what Alpine’s true pace is. But as ever, unreliability will be a factor to consider, as Ocon cost players 175 points from DNFs last year alone.

All things considered, there are better budget options out there.


Ferrari & Mercedes ✅

Hamilton Ferrari 2023

Can Mercedes or Ferrari battle Red Bull? Or will they be forced into another battle for second-best?


While Red Bull remains the runaway title favourite, the race to second place could be tightly contested between Ferrari and Mercedes. The Maranello outfit topped the timesheets on two out of three pre-season testing days, but it’s widely speculated that both George Russell ($18.8m) and Lewis Hamilton ($19.3m) were showing far from the W15’s true potential. This rumour seemingly turned to reality during FP2, as the Silver/Black arrows set the two fastest times.

Hamilton was one of F1 Fantasy’s highest and most consistent scorers throughout 2023, but has nevertheless dropped heavily in price heading into the new campaign. If you’re not wanting to splash the cash on Verstappen, the Dutchman’s former rival could be a great option for a potential podium result, or even shock grand prix winner at the opening round should his pace continue.

Charles Leclerc ($19.1m) showed an equal amount of winning potential in 2023 — having scored two pole positions and three podiums in the final four races of the season. Carlos Sainz was the only non-Red Bull winner of 2023, and has showed his form early in 2024: he topped the final FP3 practice session, as teams set flying laps ahead of qualifying. He’s $0.6m cheaper than Charles Leclerc, who finished the session fourth and 0.25sec slower:

Ferrari’s apparent pace could make it a canny constructor choice, as could either driver. If Mercedes’ or Ferrari’s pace can be sustained, their drivers will be worth having in your line-up — at a significant discount to Verstappen — before their value skyrockets!


Motor Sport‘s F1 Fantasy line-up for Bahrain GP

Ahead of the 2024 F1 season opener (and before the practice sessions), we’ve decided to rest the majority of our hopes on Red Bull and its sister team, with both outfits potentially set to dominate the front of the pack and the midfield.

Considering his pace in pre-season testing and his history of taking the fight to Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc acts as our insurance policy for a possible race winner — should Red Bull suffer another disastrous start to the season just as it did in 2022.

Finally, we’ll be hoping to score some more midfield points through Valtteri Bottas, Aston Martin and RB.

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