As team after team launches new livery after new livery, we are constantly being reminded that the 2024 Formula One season is just around the corner. Preseason testing will wrap up in two weeks, and three weeks from now the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix will be underway.
If you’ve been watching the sport for decades or you’re a recent “Drive to Survive” convert, chances are good that you have your team. What if you’re new to all of this, though? How can you be expected to know which outfit is worthy of your fandom?
We’ve scoured the American sports landscape to find fitting comparisons for all 10 teams on the grid this season. Whether your NFL team is blessed with an MVP, your hockey club hasn’t sported playoff beards in a decade or your NBA franchise is staring down a potential almighty rebuild, we’ve got just the right F1 team for you.
Like the Chiefs, Red Bull is the dominant force in its sport right now. One has two-time MVP Patrick Mahomes, the other has three-time world champion Max Verstappen. Both stars have picked up the mantle as the best in the business from each sport’s GOAT (Tom Brady and Lewis Hamilton) and are pulling their teams along with them.
Much like the Super Bowl-bound Chiefs this season, who will fight for a third NFL title in five seasons, Red Bull has cultivated an air of invincibility and inevitability around everything it does. It has won two straight constructors’ crowns, and there’s little reason to believe it won’t add two more before a new set of regulations are introduced for the 2026 campaign.
Fans devoted to certain teams have to ask themselves: Will it ever get any better? That’s as true for Alpine as it is for the Red Wings, each of whom have underperformed for years with few signs of things changing for the better.
Alpine is a team that has tasted success, evidenced by back-to-back world championships with Michael Schumacher in 1994 and 1995 and with Fernando Alonso in 2005 and 2006, but barring Esteban Ocon’s win at the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix, the Enstone-based French outfit has been kicking the same can down the road for nearly a decade. Detroit refers to itself as “Hockeytown,” which makes sense considering the Wings’ four Stanley Cups between 1997 and 2008, but they have failed to take advantage of the talents of captain Dylan Larkin and have missed the playoffs in seven straight seasons.
Even with a payroll of nearly $350 million, and in a market of 8.5 million people, how can the Mets possibly compete with the Yankees? Sure, there’s the 1986 World Series and the National League pennant the same year and two more in 2000 and 2015, but in that same time, the Bronx Bombers have rung up five World Series crowns and seven American League pennants.
Williams has a history the Mets can only dream of, though, winning nine constructors’ championships and seven drivers’ titles between 1980 and 1997. Since, it has largely trundled around at the back while its nearest neighbour (Alpine, 26 miles north in Enstone, and Mercedes, 32 miles away in Brackley) have racked up 21 total championships split between drivers’ and constructors’. With investment from Dorilton Capital breathing new life into the operation, not unlike the funding the Mets have received from owner Steve Cohen, perhaps Williams can soon make good on its ongoing promise of a turnaround.
If the Cowboys are America’s Team, Ferrari is Formula One’s Team. Older generations may associate each with winning in dominant fashion, but in recent times, both have been plagued by disappointment and burdened by title droughts — Dallas since 1995, Ferrari since 2008 — that grow heavier with each passing year. Making matters worse is the fact that rivals have overtaken them, dominated and shattered records in their place.
Both organisations often top lists of the most lucrative teams in sports, which reflects the way they operate. Ferrari carries itself with an air of superiority that is not reflected in its modern-era results, which will sound familiar to any fan who has ever rooted against the Cowboys.
The team known as Jordan, Spyker, Midland, Force India, Racing Point and now Aston Martin has been around for a long time without really making a major impact. That might be changing thanks to big investment from owner Lawrence Stroll, which has included signing Alonso, investing in a brand-new factory and poaching a host of big-name engineers from rival teams.
In the 33-year history of the Wolves, Minnesota has won exactly two playoff series — both in 2003 and 2004, when Kevin Garnett & Co. advanced to the Western Conference finals. There is hope on the horizon for this forever-frustrating franchise, though, with emergent superstar Anthony Edwards surrounded by four-time All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns and three-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert.
Just happy to be here! The ultimate “it’s not the winning, it’s the taking part that counts” team, Sauber’s F1 organisation has been anonymous for much of its time in Formula One, something perhaps best illustrated by the fact that its best-ever season (2007, when it finished second in the constructors’ champion) came under the ownership and direction of BMW. Despite a 32-year history in the series, Peter Sauber’s team has barely scratched the surface in terms of cultivating a fanbase or meaningful legacy — perhaps because for 11 of those years the team has been known as BMW or Alfa Romeo or now Stake.
The Sabres’ legacy stretches back an additional 23 years, but their success has been equally absent. There have been two Stanley Cup Final appearances, both defeats, and a postseason drought that looks likely to extend to a 13th year. And like Sauber, this is a team whose identity is constantly shifting, having worn three different primary logos and two different colour palettes.
These are arguably the two greatest dynasties of the past decade. Since 2015, Golden State has appeared in six NBA Finals, winning four of them, while the past ten seasons for Mercedes have yielded eight constructors’ championships and seven drivers’ championships. Change is coming for both glittering organisations, though.
Think Mercedes, you think Hamilton. Think of the Warriors and you think of Steph Curry. The question of what life looks like without Hamilton is currently ringing loudly through the halls of Brackley following the bombshell news that he will drive for Ferrari in 2025. Curry may be under contract through the 2025-26 season, but he’s 35, and wingmen Draymond Green and Klay Thompson are each 33, making the prospect of living up to recent glories a challenging one.
These organisations are mediocrity personified. Hampered by questionable decision-making and owners who are either detached from reality or placing their faith in the wrong hires, neither of these teams have made a dent in their respective championship. Since Shahid Khan bought the Jags in 2012, they’ve had the same number of playoff appearances as they’ve had first overall picks in the NFL Draft (two).
At least Jacksonville made some noise in those two playoff appearances, winning two postseason games in 2017 and one in 2022. In its eight years of existence, Haas’s best grand prix finish is fourth (scored by Romain Grosjean at the 2018 Austrian Grand Prix). Owner Gene Haas’s dismissal of the only team principal the organisation has ever known, Guenther Steiner, is unlikely to change his team’s history of indifferent results — only investment on a par with his rivals will do that.
Gerrit Cole. Starling Marte. Jameson Taillon. Andrew McCutchen. The Pirates have something of a reputation for trading away their best players before having to pay them lucrative, market-rate contracts, and then repeating the cycle again and again.
That’s not all that dissimilar to RB, which has existed primarily as a training ground for Red Bull’s future stars. World champions like Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel each got their start with the team formerly known as AlphaTauri, as did race winners Daniel Ricciardo, Carlos Sainz and Pierre Gasly. The Pirates have at least been more successful, winning five World Series — something Red Bull hopes its second team can replicate with its new Visa and Cash App partnership.
McLaren and the Celtics operate on parallel timelines. Multiple championships in the ’70s? Check. Multiple championships in the ’80s? Check. Leaner years in the ’90s and 2000s, with a one-off (and to date, most recent) title to arrive in 2008? Check and check.
And now, both are resurgent. Boston made the NBA Finals in 2021-22 and were close to doing it again in 2022-23. And in the closing stages of last season, Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri turned in some Jayson Tatum-inspired drives to look like the closest challenger to Red Bull. A return to the good times of the past feels close, yet achingly far away.