2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Saturday


2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix - Saturday-1.jpg

Imola, 18 May 2024 – Stake F1 Team KICK Sauber experienced a rather disappointing qualifying day. A competitive session, that once again proved the field to be very tight and that every small improvement matters, ended after Q1 for the team. The race will see Valtteri Bottas starting from P16 with Zhou Guanyu right next to his teammate, starting from P17. With an upgraded floor on both cars, the team continues to work hard to get closer to the fight for points in tomorrow's race on a track where anything can happen.

Alessandro Alunni Bravi, Team Representative: "Today's qualifying session was a difficult one for the team: at the beginning of Friday's practice, we struggled to start with the correct baseline setup and in the course of the sessions we couldn't recover the performance needed to make it into Q2 – something we have to analyse further. If we compare qualifying to FP3, Valtteri didn't improve from the morning session, and we missed a small gap to Lewis [Hamilton] to enter Q2. Zhou, on the other hand, was able to improve compared to FP3 and get closer to Valtteri's time. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough as the gap was already quite big, but I am happy to see him closing up and significantly improving his performance. Starting from P16 and P17 makes tomorrow quite difficult: we expect a race that might see lots of teams following a one-stop strategy – but nothing is lost as we've seen that the upgrade package we brought to Imola is giving us some improvement. Everyone in the team must work harder than ever to get closer to Q3 and start in a good position to score points."

Valtteri Bottas (car number 77):

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

FP3: 14th / 1:16.695 (15 laps)

Q1: 16th / 1:16.626 (6 laps)

"Unfortunately, it hasn't been the easiest of weekends so far for us, as we have been lacking a bit of consistency overall. Getting out of Q1 is always tough, especially by such a thin margin; the track has been trickier than usual to drive on so far this weekend, as it has been quite windy and gusty. Overall, it hasn't been an easy session, and we could have probably extracted a couple hundredths more. On top of that, a sudden gust of tailwind made me lose some time in Turn 12 during my second run. As a positive, our race pace is there: what we would need ahead of tomorrow is some luck and some action in front of us to further progress. It'll be challenging, but we are ready to take any chance that we could get."

Zhou Guanyu (car number 24):

Stake F1 Team KICK Sauber C44 (Chassis 04/Ferrari)

FP3: 20th / 1:17.891 (15 laps)

Q1: 17th / 1:16.834 (9 laps)

"Unfortunately, the whole weekend hasn't been the best so far. I started the day with our new floor, and while we had to make a few changes following FP3 as I was a second behind my teammate, the team did a great job, making sure we were set up for qualifying. It wasn't an easy session, and I reckon there was more on the table. The upgrade package – even though small – seems to be working and helping us gain more performance. I'm looking forward to tomorrow: it won't be an easy race with probably lots of teams going for a similar strategy, but it's a great old-school track where anything can happen, and I am positive that we can make up some positions as done in previous sessions."

Credit: Stake F1 Team official website