Valtteri Bottas is optimistic that the Sauber project he signed up for is starting to "fall into place" despite a poor 2023 season.
After claiming sixth in the 2022 season, helped by the fact that the new ground effects car was considerably lighter than its rivals at the beginning of the year, Alfa Romeo slipped back in 2023, to ninth with just 16 points on the board for Bottas and team-mate Zhou Guanyu.
Alfa Romeo has departed after its title sponsorship ended after the 2023 season, with Sauber preparing to launch its new team name on New Year's Day 2024 after hinting that the previously announced Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber name would change.
Bottas is in the final year of his three-year deal with the team, as preparations gear up for the arrival of Audi in 2026 - and the Finn is pleased by what he is seeing.
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"We're not way behind, but we're behind compared to some other teams," Bottas explained to media including RacingNews365.
"The fact is that some teams do have more people, and have more budget for different things, so there is still work to do on that side.
"But I am seeing progress. The team is hiring all new people all the time and things are starting to fall into place, but it has definitely taken some time.
"Obviously I signed up for this project for three years, and we definitely need to see progress.
"I am expecting that and it is what I am working towards.
"It is going to be interesting early next year, and I'm definitely hoping for more performance and obviously, eventually, my future comes to be discussion then."