After a few years as Alfa Romeo, Sauber’s new identity, Stake F1, will have a very different on-track presence as they switch to green and black.
The newly rebranded Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber were the second of two launches today, neither taking place in the team’s home country. Williams hopped over the Atlantic to go to the Puma store in New York City, while Sauber were a little closer to their home base, jumping from Switzerland to London’s Guildhall for their event.
One thing that’s unchanged for the team though is their driver line-up, Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu will remain as teammates for the third year running and the two were on hand to do the unveiling of the C44.
“The new C44 definitely feels different,” Bottas said, “both in terms of looks and of what we can expect from the car. We need to perform as a team and extract the most out of this package, which has some impressive potential – nothing else matters. Personally speaking, going into the third season together with a team, the objectives need to be lofty.
“My own expectations are high, we definitely need to make a good step and see good progress from last year, a season in which, in all honesty, we didn’t meet the targets that we set for ourselves. We need to fix that now, we need to step up our game and do better, but I have seen some real enthusiasm back in Hinwil and I am confident we can do it.”
Zhou is hoping that the car will live up to its new, vibrant colouring by being competitive: “First, you know, you can’t miss the colour! It’s a very exciting new approach, especially in Formula One. And then from my side, of course, we’re hoping to be a fast one.
“We’ve been putting in a lot of effort since the last season, especially in the second half of the year, after the summer break, just to make sure that we’re understanding exactly where we had to improve as a team and what the plan for the guys back in the factory would be for the winter: now is the time to put everything together and get the car on track.
“The expectations are high but, at the same time, we won’t know where we really stand until we start competing against our rivals. Still, a lot of effort went into the new car and I’m excited to drive it soon.”
The C44 will get its first run on track at a shakedown in Barcelona on Friday
Technical Director, James Key, joined the team in September and said the car is “virtually a completely new car” compared to last year.
“It’s always great to see a new car coming out,” Kay said. “The C44 project was already running before I joined the team, of course: I joined in the middle of it, so I have to give credit to the team, who have done a fantastic job. There’s a great team in Hinwil, with a good and positive working atmosphere, and everyone’s keen to make progress.
“The C44 is virtually a completely new car, with a few carry-over areas at the rear of the car. The team had to take an ambitious direction well before I joined: there are many mechanical changes, some of which you can’t see at all, but some are very visible.
“The front suspension is completely new, a tough and ambitious project for a team of our size, there are many aerodynamic changes, too, as would be expected given that this remains the primary area of development – so, overall, the car will really look quite different to last year’s car. We took a lot of new, exciting directions, all of which appear to hold quite a bit of potential, so we’re looking forward to seeing them on track. ”