Sauber has presented its new-look for the upcoming Formula 1 season during a launch ceremony at London’s Guildhall on Monday.
Sauber will compete this year and next under the unwieldy name of Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber, having sold naming rights to the two brands which share common ownership, prior to Audi’s arrival in 2026.
The branding from Stake, which the team is referring to itself as, and Kick heavily influences the updated livery that will feature on the C44.
Sauber competed as Alfa Romeo from 2019 through 2023 after a branding affiliation with the Italian marque.
Sauber will field a driver lineup of Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu for a third successive season. Both drivers joined the team in 2022, when new regulations were introduced, and are out of contract at the end of the season.
Reigning Formula 2 champion Théo Pourchaire, who will race in the Japan-based Super Formula series, will stay on as Sauber’s test and reserve driver. Zane Maloney, 10th in Formula 2 last year, has joined Sauber’s academy and will also take on some reserve duties.
Sauber endured a disappointing 2023 season as it finished only ninth in the Constructors’ Championship. It took a best race finish of eighth, achieved twice by Bottas, in Bahrain and Qatar.
Technical Director James Key, who joined the team in September, believes substantial progress has been made with its C44.
“If you put an image of last year’s car versus this year’s it is very noticeably different, more aggressive and refined, there’s a lot under the skin you can’t see that’s changed considerably,” said Key. “It’s a more advanced and ambitious car, with more potential in it, compared to last year.
“We can definitely mix it further up the grid; if you look at how incredibly close it was, if you look at the lap time differences, it was getting smaller and smaller and everyone had a Q3 and points opportunity.
“We want to move up towards the middle or the top end of the midfield. There’s no reason why we can’t do that, so we’ll be looking to make that sort of progress.”
Bottas conceded that “the direction from 2022 to 2023 wasn’t correct, we didn’t meet the targets we set initially, so now it’s time to turn that ship in another direction.”
Off-track CEO Andreas Seidl is continuing to oversee the team’s evolution into Audi’s factory team from 2026, when the German manufacturer will join Formula 1 for the first time as Sauber’s power unit partner.
Sauber will remain as a Ferrari customer team through 2024 and 2025 ahead of its Audi alignment.
Alessandro Alunni Bravi has stayed on as Sauber’s team representative—the de facto team principal working beneath CEO Seidl.
“We think we made a step forward but we don’t know what the competition has done, so we’ll see in Bahrain if the step we made with our new car has been enough,” said Alunni Bravi.
“What we want to do is to do a better job, not just a matter of the new car, but how we operate on track, everything. It’s a very long season, 24 races, it’s not just important to start well but then develop the car throughout the whole season.”
Formula 1’s 2024 launch season will continue with Alpine’s unveiling on Wednesday.
Williams earlier unveiled its 2024 livery during a ceremony in New York City.