Valtteri Bottas is hopeful the changes incoming at Sauber over winter are “exactly what we need now”, with plenty afoot at the Hinwil-based team.
The FIA’s 2024 entry list was unveiled on Friday, confirming that the team would be known as Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber as a new naming rights deal was agreed before Audi’s takeover in 2026.
The team, when it was known as Alfa Romeo, slipped from sixth place in the Constructors’ Championship in 2022 to ninth in 2023, with a significant amount of work ongoing behind the scenes to change fortunes around.
Valtteri Bottas: ‘Completely new car’ in 2024 is ‘exactly what we need now’ at Sauber
Additional reporting by Thomas Maher
Alfa Romeo largely saw themselves out-developed by their midfield rivals as the season went on, with Bottas and team-mate Zhou Guanyu finding it increasingly difficult to get into the points as 2023 progressed.
The former Mercedes driver admitted there is still plenty to be done over the winter break, but with personnel changes and a full change in the car coming, he is hopeful it will have the right effect.
“In this sport, with the margins we have, it’s everything,” Bottas responded to media including PlanetF1.com when asked where Sauber need to place their focus on car development over winter.
“There’s nothing fundamental, but the good thing is we do have a completely new car with some new ideas, with new people in the team.
“That’s exactly what we need now, so we need to make big steps over the winter. That’s the key.”
While the likes of McLaren surged from the back of the field to the front in 2023, Alfa Romeo went in the other direction after starting well within the midfield fight, before a double-points finish in Qatar and a P10 placing at Monza were the team’s only points on the other side of the summer break.
Bottas admitted their steady rate of progress was “not enough” compared to their rivals, which he hopes he and the team can rectify with some new recruits over winter.
“We have brought upgrades pretty consistently all through the year, like any team,” Bottas explained.
“But some have been decent steps, some really minor so we haven’t found anything big throughout the season.
“It’s been steady progress, but that’s not enough. Meanwhile, some other teams, they had found big steps, new concepts, innovative things.
“Some might be copying other things, but still, we just did steady progress, but in this sport, that’s not always enough.
“Ultimately, the biggest thing was how the car was born. It was definitely born better than last year’s car, but not better enough. That’s just how it goes.
“So it’s not one thing that is lacking, so that’s why I’m really pleased that we’re trying to think a bit outside the box now, and with also all the new people we have on board and that will be coming on board.”