2024 Chinese Grand Prix - Sunday


2024 Chinese Grand Prix - Sunday.jpg

Shanghai, 21 April 2024 – Stake F1 Team KICK Sauber completed a thrilling and emotional Chinese Grand Prix weekend, as Zhou Guanyu and the team wrote a page of motorsport history in Shanghai. Zhou fought through the field to record 14th position, pushed along by the incredible support of the home crowd; Valtteri Bottas raced hard to finish in the top ten, but his quest for a point ended with a technical issue when in contention for a strong result.

With improving pace and consistency on and off the track, the team will keep working ahead of the next race – in Miami in two weeks.

Alessandro Alunni Bravi, Team Representative: "This hasn't been the race we expected, it hasn't been the race we wanted. Before going into the analysis of the race, it's worth acknowledging the important page that Zhou, together with the team, has written for the history of motorsport and Formula One in China. Testament to this is the support of all the spectators throughout the whole weekend, from Thursday onwards: it was something impressive, that went beyond our expectations. We saw how much the popularity of Formula One is increasing in China thanks to Zhou, and we're proud that our team could be part of this with him. We expected a tough race for him, starting 16th, but he had good pace and fought well in the many battles he had. We adopted an aggressive strategy in the closing stages, switching to soft tyres to give him more performance: unfortunately, there were no points for him today, but it was important to show he could fight and be competitive against the cars around him. It was a disappointing end of the race for Valtteri, who was fighting with Nico [Hülkenberg] for a place in the top ten. He had a solid opening stint on medium tyres, and the choice to move to hards was the right one: unfortunately, his race was cut short by a drivetrain issue, something we will investigate. It was a big disappointment as he had the pace to finish in the points, which would have been a deserved result for him and the team. Finally, a positive side to today's race was the consistency in our pit stops, in which we were able to achieve the target we had set for ourselves for this weekend. It's an improvement that will give confidence to our pit crew too. Now, we set our sights to Miami with the awareness we can go there for a strong weekend."

Valtteri Bottas (car number 77):

Stake F1 Team KICK Sauber C44 (Chassis 03/Ferrari)

Race result: DNF

Fastest lap: 1:41.276 (Lap 11)

Strategy & Pit Stops: Start (New Medium) – Lap 9 (New Hard)

"Today marks a rather disappointing ending to a very promising weekend: starting from P10 put me in a good position to fight for points, and the race was going well overall until I suddenly lost drive and my engine turned off – something we'll have to thoroughly investigate in the upcoming days. It's quite unfortunate, while there was still a long way to go, I was fighting with Nico [Hülkenberg] who made it into the points. It's tough to accept, but this is racing, and many more opportunities will arise: our pace is improving and as a team, we're making small steps on many fronts all the time. We've been around P10 the entire weekend and were able to learn a lot about our car and our upgrades that will allow us to maximise our potential. As we keep making those steps, I'm looking forward to racing in Miami again, a track I have enjoyed a lot in the last years."

Zhou Guanyu (car number 24):

Stake F1 Team KICK Sauber C44 (Chassis 01/Ferrari)

Race result: 14th

Fastest lap: 1:38.633 (Lap 42)

Strategy & Pit Stops: Start (New Medium) – Lap 9 (New Hard) – Lap 23 (New Hard) – Lap 40 (New Soft)

"This weekend has been an amazing experience: for years, I dreamt about racing at home and finally I was able to do it. To see the passion and the love from everyone on the stands was something I've never experienced before: the in-lap, in particular, was something I won't ever forget, seeing so many people cheering and shouting your name. I made sure I waved at each grandstand, at every corner with fans. As much as I treated this as a regular race weekend, the emotion was undeniable and it really got me in the end, especially when I stopped in Parc Ferme: it was a special moment, topping off the honour of being the first ever Chinese driver to race in a Chinese Grand Prix. The race was tough, especially in the first stint where I didn't have a lot of grip and I was sliding all over the place, but we did manage to recover well. Finishing the race isn't what makes me happy – it's to do so fighting my way through the field, giving everything and leaving nothing behind. Unfortunately, starting from the back we knew breaking into the points would be difficult, but we can focus on some positives, such as our pace; and, of course, the great improvement done by the team and the crew in the pit stops, which were mostly clean. At the end, we chose to go for a cheeky stint on softs: we knew we'd be able to keep the position we were in if we didn’t stop, so we gambled to switch to softs and see if we could improve even more. We did a lot of overtakes, the car felt good and it was nice to fight my way through. Given the pressure of this weekend, I am happy with the job I have done. The whole weekend was positive, yesterday afternoon and today a bit tougher but we gave it all."

Credit: Stake F1 Team official website