2024 Australian Grand Prix – Sunday


2024 Australian Grand Prix - Sunday-1.jpg

Melbourne, 24 March 2024 – KICK Sauber F1 Team saw the team's convincing pace come to nothing as technical issues relegated Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu to 14th and 15th place respectively. After a strong start that saw Valtteri fight within reach of the points and Zhou, starting from the pit lane, rapidly catch up with the pack, it was a frustrating end to the afternoon for the team: work remains to be done, but the progress in performance is at least a positive that will continue to motivate the team to push hard and resolve the outstanding issues.

Alessandro Alunni Bravi, Team Representative: "First of all, we need to apologise to our drivers, especially to Valtteri, who in the first part of the race showed he could match the top ten drivers and was clearly fighting for a points finish, thanks to a good start and strong pace. As we said before the race, we had implemented mitigation measures for our pit stop issue, something that has improved the situation but, as we have seen, not completely solved the problem: what happened to Valtteri is a slightly different, but linked, issue compared to what happened in Bahrain or Saudi Arabia, but one for which we paid a really high price and that completely ruined Valtteri's race. We clearly lost a big opportunity to score points, as he would have been there or thereabout with Tsunoda by the end of the race. Zhou, starting from the pit lane, had a different issue as we saw problems with his gearbox throughout the race: when he came to the pits, he was unable to select the gear, before the car finally stalled. It was not the driver's fault but another frustrating circumstance that damaged our race. As a team, we need to take our responsibilities when these things happen: it’s the only way we can improve. It's really tough not to score points when we had the potential to do it, as we saw we had the performance to be ahead of Haas, RB and our other direct competitors. We need to keep working hard, even harder to fix these problems. We regroup, we stay united with our drivers and our team back home in Hinwil and trackside, and together we do all we can to come back stronger in the next race."

Valtteri Bottas (car number 77):

KICK Sauber F1 Team C44 (Chassis 02/Ferrari)

Race result: 14th

Fastest lap: 1:21.422 (Lap 48)

Strategy & Pit Stops: Start (Used Medium) – Lap 8 (Used Hard) – Lap 36 (New Hard)

"It's never great to see a good race come to nothing: it's frustrating as, until the pit stop, things were going really well. We had a good start, most importantly we had strong pace and we should have got points. It's obvious that we still have to work to solve the issues affecting us: what we have done so far has reduced the incidence a lot, but the risk is still there – as we have seen today. There's an element of bad luck there, and there's nothing the pit crew could have done differently, it's a technical issue that needs to be solved. We can still find some positives – our performance is improving, we have made a step forward with the upgrades the team has brought and we should have been in the points. We were fighting with Fernando in the opening stages, and I believe P8 or P9 would have been within reach. We keep working hard: there will be more upgrades coming soon and I think we can make an even bigger step in Japan."

Zhou Guanyu (car number 24):

KICK Sauber F1 Team C44 (Chassis 03/Ferrari)

Race result: 15th

Fastest lap: 1:21.327 (Lap 49)

Strategy & Pit Stops: Start (New Soft) – Lap 6 (Used Hard) – Lap 35 (New Hard)

"This weekend was a difficult one. Starting from the pit lane is always tricky, and being stuck in a DRS train made it difficult for me to overtake. There were some points up for grabs for the team today, but, unfortunately, we did not manage to be up there, fighting for them. During my second pit stop, I experienced an issue, outside of my control, related to my gearbox – when I called for the gear, the car stalled which cost me plenty of time. Overall, our race pace continued to look quite strong and competitive with the teams around us. It's been a lost opportunity, but as a team, we'll continue our work to bounce back in Suzuka.”

Credit: KICK Sauber F1 Team official website