HealthSportsBottas Identifies Sauber F1 Team's Reaction Time as a Major Weakness

Bottas Identifies Sauber F1 Team’s Reaction Time as a Major Weakness

Bottas made a bold move from Mercedes to join the Sauber-run Alfa Romeo team (Stake as it’s now known) for the anticipated return of ground effect in 2022. He had a solid start to the season, impressively scoring points in seven of the first nine grands prix. The Swiss squad made significant strides by hitting the minimum car weight limit of 798kg straight out of the box, surpassing their rivals. 

However, the team and driver faced setbacks as they fell behind in the development race. Alfa Romeo ended the season in sixth place, only to fall to ninth in 2023, just ahead of Haas. This was despite the gradual takeover from Audi, which was expected to allow the team to operate within the budget cap.  

With Audi set to officially return to the grid in 2026, Bottas stressed the importance of improving the team’s performance in identifying areas for development in the wind tunnel. 

Bottas emphasized in an exclusive interview with Motorsport.com: “Right now, our ability to turn around upgrades [is an area that needs to be addressed]. 

“We can identify improvements in the wind tunnel, but the time it takes to implement them in the car is a significant obstacle compared to other issues.” 

Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo C43

Photo by: Alfa Romeo

Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo C43

The team has recruited former McLaren technical chief James Key. During their first dinner meeting, Bottas communicated to Key the need to enhance chassis balance and aerodynamic characteristics.  

Bottas elaborated: “There are some aspects of the chassis that need adjustments for balance, as well as the aero side that requires work.  

“[Key] has reviewed all the numbers and the aerodynamic behavior of the car, including the yaw and roll. He has clear ideas about where improvements can be made. I’m impressed by his commitment to achieve success.” 

“He is highly motivated to deliver and I know he is determined to perform to the best of his abilities.”  

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Following a five-year tenure at the eight-time constructors’ champion Mercedes, which saw him secure 10 GP wins, Bottas observed a noticeable decline in facilities upon joining the Hinwil-based outfit.  

He revealed: “Some of the machinery is outdated. The team is actively working to eliminate any gaps in this area, but I could perceive the difference.  

“The wind tunnel is, however, very impressive. The facilities, including the number of ovens for carbon curing, are top-notch. However, the manpower – there are fewer people involved in the lamination process.” 

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