2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Sunday


2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix - Sunday-2.jpg

Imola, 19 May 2024 – Stake F1 Team KICK Sauber leaves the first race of the European calendar with no points to its name: leveraging different strategies, Valtteri Bottas pitted early, switching to the hard compound tyres, whereas Zhou Guanyu opted for a longer stint on hard tyres before switching to a new set of mediums. On a track where overtaking is difficult and with a long pitlane, Zhou was able to gain positions, ultimately finishing P15, while Valtteri, after running in P12, suffered the tyres' degradation in the closing stages, reaching the chequered flag in P18.

The team, both trackside and in Hinwil, will continue to work hard to be in the fight for points at the historic circuit of Monte Carlo next weekend.

Alessandro Alunni Bravi, Team Representative: "We knew that, starting from P16 and P17, we needed some special circumstances playing in our favour to be in the fight for points. However, what we saw today was a clean race, without any full or virtual safety car; we tried a different strategy for both cars but remained in a DRS train for most of the race. We had decent pace on both compounds, especially compared with our direct competitors, but it was not enough to gain further positions. Zhou drove an aggressive race, starting on the hard tyres. Unfortunately, he had a moment with Esteban [Ocon] where he was pushed off the track and therefore lost the position. With Valtteri, we tried to extend the second stint, on the hard compound, and therefore pitted him early – unfortunately, the end of the race was difficult for him in terms of traction. The field is very tight, and we have seen that qualifying is the real race for us: any position we can gain on the starting grid can allow us to have a different Sunday. The target for the team is to find more pace in the car over the next few races, starting in Monaco. While today was the maximum we could have done, our analysis is that we need to improve – as quickly as possible."

Valtteri Bottas (car number 77):

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

Race result: 18th

Fastest lap: 1:21.455 (Lap 11)

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

"It's been a pretty quiet afternoon on my end. We tried something different with my strategy, in contrast to Zhou's, and stopped early. It was good to give it a try, as it worked okay for most of the race, although the second stint lasted a bit too long, and my tyres eventually dropped off over the last ten laps. It was always going to be slightly difficult to make progress on such a narrow track, especially as our starting position wasn't ideal. In terms of upgrades, we did make a small step here, and we could have realised some more of our potential in qualifying had it not been for yesterday's conditions, but of course we need to further improve to properly get in the mix for points, as we have seen with our main competitors. The team back home is putting a lot of effort into delivering the next set of new parts, which should be implemented over the next few races. We will also have something more track-specific for Monaco – that, of course, is a race of its own, where it's all about qualifying – it'll be important to get that right, to have a decent chance at points in the Principality."

Zhou Guanyu (car number 24):

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

Race result: 15th

Fastest lap: - 1:21.016 (Lap 37)

Strategy & Pit Stops: Start (New Hard) – Lap 33 (New Medium)

"Today's race was quite uneventful in the beginning but picked up some action later on. We were hoping for a safety car to really benefit from our strategy – and while that didn't happen, we still made it work, managed our tyres well, and gained positions. Unfortunately, most cars were on a similar one-stop strategy on a track where it's hard to overtake and, without any major incidents, we didn't get close to the points, especially since we still need to extract a bit more in terms of pace and performance. Next up is Monaco, and sometimes packages suddenly work better on a completely different track. The team keeps pushing, and we'll give it our all to be up there fighting for points in the upcoming races."

Credit: Stake F1 Team KICK Sauber official website