Stake Sauber has begun its new chapter with a stunning launch ceremony at London's historic Guildhall.
The Hinwil-based outfit, which is gearing up for a transition to the Audi works programme from 2026, sports a new identity this season following the end of its partnership with Alfa Romeo.
Stake has made its mark with a bold black and 'fluo racing green' look, displayed on what is the first physical car launch of the new year.
The C44 stands out from last year's machinery with a number of changes being made - under the supervision of new Technical Director James Key - with a shift to pull-rod suspension the most noticeable difference.
There have also been clear changes made to the sidepods and engine cover as the team aims to pick up from its lowly ninth-place finish in last season's Constructors' standings.
"The new car we unveiled today, the C44, is a tribute to the work done by James Key and the technical team, and to every man and woman in Hinwil, who all contributed to the car we see today," said Team Representative Alessandro Alunni Bravi.
"Witnessing the launch of a new car is always a special moment, and even more so when it marks the start of a new era, that of Stake F1 Team.
"We have a fresh new identity and we are excited about everything we have planned, on and off the track: today, though, it is all about the C44 and its potential.
"We are confident about this car and our team: we won’t speak about specific targets, because it's always difficult to put commit to numbers, but our targets are clear - to improve the performance of our car and our package. By package, I mean every area, from the race team to the operations on track, the pit stops, the strategy: it's more than just the car performance, and we are committed in all departments to make this step, this is the target.
"Then, we will see where our position will be as the season progresses: but the key target is to improve this year and to deliver a better job than we did in 2023."
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'A completely new car'
Key joined the team after being dismissed from the same role at McLaren early last season and has already put his stamp on the technical department.
"It's always great to see a new car coming out," added the Briton.
"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. Of course, designing and building a car like the C44 is not the work of one person: it's an immensely complex project, even more so nowadays, with the regulations we have.
"The key is really down to managing this process, with the hundreds of people who have been working hard to develop the car, design it and then ultimately build it.
"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. "