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Sauber F1 team

Former F1 winner faces vital year - What to expect from Sauber in 2024

With the new season already closing in and teams weeks away from unveiling their challengers for the new campaign, RacingNews365 will take a look at each team and what can be expected.

Bottas Abu Dhabi
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To news overview © XPBimages

It won't be long until F1 teams begin to take the covers off their new challengers for the upcoming season as we eagerly anticipate the first track running of the year in the Bahrain test.

Ahead of the car launches, RacingNews365 will take a look at what to expect from each team ahead of the new campaign and next up is Sauber, which finished ninth in the Constructors' standings last term.

A new identity

The full identity is yet to be revealed, including what the car design will be, but following Alfa Romeo's departure, Sauber will be known as Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber for the new season.

The Hinwil-based outfit will alternate between Stake and Kick depending on race location due to various advertising and gambling laws, though we will denote the team as simply 'Sauber'.

Its new identity will carry the team through until it officially becomes Audi, with the German manufacturer entering F1 in 2026.

Technical changes to prove difference?

Former McLaren Team Principal Andreas Seidl made the switch to Sauber last winter to become CEO and replace now-Ferrari Team Principal Fred Vasseur.

The German made his first significant change when snatching up James Key after he had been let go by McLaren mid-season, with the Briton joining the technical team.

Whilst he won't take full control of the reigns for the new challenger, he will likely have begun to put his footprint on the Swiss outfit as it tries to overcome some of the shortcomings from a disappointing 2023 season.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Zhou to take a step forward?

There is no doubt that Zhou Guanyu has proven a lot of his doubters wrong with his performances over the past two years.

When he made the step up from F2, many suggested that it was a commercial-driven decision from Sauber, yet his form compared to teammate Valtteri Bottas has been impressive.

Looking closely at the races, it is evident results could have been greater had it not been for Safety Car misfortune or reliability issues - particularly in his rookie year - but now there is a need for a step-up to cement his place on the grid for the future.

One huge motivating factor will be the return of the Chinese Grand Prix, marking the first time the crowd will have a home hero to cheer on through the event. This is a huge boost not just to Zhou, but F1 itself.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Bottas the leader

Something just didn't click for Bottas last term.

We know just how good the Finn can perform from his time at Mercedes, where he would outperform the field when on a going day. His final victory at the Turkish Grand Prix in 2021 was nothing short of stunning.

Yet last season, whether it was synergy with the machinery or simply a lack of form from Bottas, he was way off his best. Form did pick up towards the end of the season which does provide optimism into the new campaign, but that step up is needed.

Bottas has to lead the team in the next phase of its journey - arguably the most important few years in Sauber's history - and a fast start will underline his worth to the operation.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Ferrari reliability crucial

As mentioned above, many strong results have been let down by reliability, whether through Sauber's own fault or Ferrari's power unit.

The Scuderia has struggled itself with mechanical gremlins over the past two years and will be working feverishly to ensure another campaign is not hindered by such issues.

That will trickle down to the customer teams and, if rectified, Sauber will be in a much stronger position to attempt to pick up regular points scores. Ninth was not what the team would have been hoping for after such a strong 2022 campaign - a return to that form will be much welcomed.

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