Bottas and Zhou see encouraging signs from overhauled 2024 car

Formula 1

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Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu are looking forward to driving their team’s successor to the Alfa Romeo C43, after the team fell to ninth in the constructors’ championship.

The Sauber-run team will lose its Alfa Romeo branding for 2024. It has not yet confirmed details of next year’s branding or car model name.

However details have already emerged that the team is taking on a different design direction after coming ninth in the constructors’ standings with this year’s car.

Bottas said “the story of this season” for Alfa Romeo has been “we never quite had enough raw pace to put up a decent challenge and constantly achieve points finishes” and the focus at the team’s Hinwil base has already switched to 2024.

“The concept of next year’s car, from what I have seen, is interesting,” teased Bottas.

“The main thing is we need a new car, and it needs to be different. So that’s, I would say, the biggest we take from this year. Clearly we’ve hit the end with this car’s development, we just haven’t been able to find any anything big. So the whole concept needs to be different.”

Bottas says he’s happy “because there’s differences” already visible in the early modelling of the 2024 design.

“I think that’s what we need. There’s many question marks, it’s still early days, but at least we’re seeing progress and the last few weeks has been actually quite productive in the factory,” he said.

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Although work on the team’s next car began before James Key arrived as its new technical director, he will have an input into some areas of its design.

“I feel like with some new people we have, including James, there starts to be stuff happening,” said Bottas. “And he’s got obviously lots of knowledge from even this year’s McLaren. For sure there’s good information coming from different people. So that is good to see.”

Bottas’ team mate was similarly enthusiastic about the prospect of a changed design for 2024.

“It’s been a very long, tough season. We have things planned quite big over next year, so looking forward to try that out in January,” said Zhou.

“A lot of our main rivals from the beginning of the season, they were able just to change massively, completely introduce a new car, or ‘B’ car over the season and made a very good step forward. We knew we’re going to get that plan for next season, so this year was more about suffering at the last few races.

“It’s been a little bit inconsistent, unpredictable in terms of performance track-by-track. But we definitely, in general, don’t really have the pace, especially over the race distance. It just tends to be difficult to keep up with the top ten, even the top 13 guys.”

Zhou was cautious to go into details about the “completely new car” Sauber is designing for 2024.

“It’s going to be a different look, I can’t say more than that, but it’s already planned a few races to go. Everything’s going reasonably quite well back home. So looking forward to trying that.”

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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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One comment on “Bottas and Zhou see encouraging signs from overhauled 2024 car”

  1. Cue another RBR clone car.

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