2024 Austrian Grand Prix – Saturday

Sprint Race

2024 Austrian Grand Prix - Saturday.jpg

Spielberg, 29 June 2024 – Stake F1 Team KICK Sauber endured a difficult Saturday at the Austrian Grand Prix, as both the Sprint and the Qualifying session for tomorrow's race didn't yield positive results for the team.

Scoring in the 23-lap Sprint was always going to be a tall order, and the session became mostly a test session for Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu, who finished 18th and 20th respectively. In qualifying, however, the team couldn't produce the step forward necessary to claim a spot in Q2, Valtteri and Zhou ending in the same position as the earlier session.

Today's result will make it difficult to extract a positive result in the race: but, with Austria traditionally delivering exciting events, all possibilities remain open for the team.

Alessandro Alunni Bravi, Team Representative: "Quite simply, today"s results – both the sprint and qualifying – have highlighted how we are at the bottom of the pecking order this weekend. We tried different set-up options to find extra performance, changing both the aero and mechanical balance, but this didn't have any effect on the end result. Barcelona had proven to be a better weekend, which shows we can extract a better performance, but this weekend we struggled with our pace and we have to be extremely honest with ourselves: this has to spur us into working harder to recover. We must improve in all areas of the car: this will take everyone's commitment, both here and at the factory, for us to get out of the critical situation we are in."

Valtteri Bottas (car number 77):

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

Sprint: 18th

Fastest lap: 1:10.590 (Lap 8)

Tyres: Medium New

Q1: 18th / 1:05.847 (9 laps)

"It hasn't been the easiest Saturday for us. We knew it was always going to be difficult to get into the points from the positions where we were starting from in the Sprint, so we opted to treat it as a test session ahead of Sunday. Due to the extremely hot temperatures on track, we suffered some overheating on the tyres, which definitely didn't help our cause. We quite lacked pure pace, too, but still managed to try out different settings and learn a few things, which will hopefully help us tomorrow. Unfortunately, qualifying was once again a difficult one for us; we still managed to make the car slightly better in terms of lap balance, but when it comes to pure performance, we are not quite there on this track. We made some progress, and it seemed like we had a chance to get better, but we eventually couldn't achieve that. Unfortunately, that's how it is today – but there is still tomorrow to go, and we are not going to give up. We will try the best we can during the race, squeezing everything out of the car and looking for any opportunity that may arise."

Zhou Guanyu (car number 24):

Stake F1 Team KICK Sauber C44 (Chassis 02/Ferrari)

Sprint result: 20th

Fastest lap: 1:10.613 (Lap 6)

Tyres: Medium New

Q1: 20th / 1:06.061 (9 laps)

"Today was in equal parts challenging and disappointing. The sprint race didn't go the way I was hoping for, as I struggled with the pace throughout. Despite making some changes between sessions, this also held true for qualifying. I believe the track layout doesn't suit us as well as Barcelona, and unfortunately, we lacked the pace today to get out of Q1. It's crucial for us to stay focused and continue improving our car and overall package. The changes we've implemented have made the car feel more predictable, which usually helps during the race. It won't be easy but we will give it our best shot. I hope we can fight for some higher positions tomorrow."

Credit: Stake F1 Team KICK Sauber official website