Zhou Guanyu, Sauber, Bahrain International Circuit, 2024 pre-season test

Bottas ‘definitely feels improvements compared to last year’ in new Sauber

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In the round-up: Valtteri Bottas is encouraged by the new Sauber after the first day of testing.

In brief

New Sauber “definitely a step forward” – Bottas

Valtteri Bottas believes that Sauber have gained significant performance with their new C44.

Bottas and team mate Zhou Guanyu covered 131 laps – more than most of the 10 teams – over the first day’s running in Bahrain. The pair ended the day 14th and 10th respectively on the times sheets.

“It was a good morning,” Bottas said. “I think the main thing is on the first morning not to have issues and we got pretty much everything done, so that’s always a good start. That’s the main thing for day one – to get out there, get running, get a bit of a feel for the car.

“What I’m positive about, I definitely feel improvements compared to last year. Actually the initial feeling was quite similar to what I had in the simulator, so at least that correlation is more or less as it should be. So in that sense, a good starting point.

“[It’s] definitely a step forward, but I think everyone has made steps forward. Then it’s the question who made the biggest one.”

Viaplay clarifies Horner report

Viaplay claimed its reportage on Christian Horner had been misconstrued after reports emerged claiming the Finnish Formula 1 broadcaster had said he would be replaced as Red Bull team principal last week.

“On Wednesday, February 21st, the international media extensively reported on the matters related to the future of the team principal of the Red Bull F1 team,” said Viaplay in a statement. “In the news, there has been a misquotation of the Viaplay Finland F1 broadcast and the discussion from our on-site team and our commentators about the topic.

“We want to emphasise that the discussion in our broadcast has been speculative. Comments related to the future of the Red Bull F1 team principal have never been expressed as factual information.”

Horner is facing an internal investigation at Red Bull concerning allegations made against him.

Binotto named head of new powertrain programme

Former Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has been named as the head of an electric powertrain development programme by an Italian company.

Binotto was team principal of Ferrari from 2019 until stepping down at the end of the 2022 season. Italian electrical goods company Texa announced that Binotto was now leading their efforts to develop an electrical powertrain.

“Besides the competitive experience that I have always lived in my life, what attracted me to Texais the strategic audacity of its project, that is to build an Italian excellence characterised by the most advanced technologies for the new mobility,” Binotto said.

Edgar gets second F1 Academy drive

Jessica Edgar will return to the F1 Academy series for a second season after Rodin confirmed the 18-year-old as one of their drivers for 2024.

Edgar is an F1 Academy race winner having claimed victory in the final race of the 2023 season at Circuit of the Americas. She also had three other podium finishes in the season, finishing eighth in the standings.

“I am really excited to be working with Rodin motorsport once again this year,” Edgar said. “We had a good 2023, constantly improving each time we went out in the car, and I hope we can do the same.”

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Comment of the day

With Max Verstappen comfortably quickest for Red Bull as the pre-season test in Bahrain got underway, Tristan doesn’t mind if the season pans out as many predict it will…

I really don’t mind even if Max does walk away with the championship and sets new records. Last year was still entertaining enough to follow behind that and there’s even more promise with RB looking decent.

I think F1 is in a really exciting place with the current set-up and the future to come. If they just fix all the rubbish – like blanket five-second penalties regardless of infraction, track limit inconsistencies and questions over what exactly ‘alongside at the apex’ means and where the apex is defined at some of the questionable corners – stuff like that is more bothersome than Max winning. He’s showed enough skill for me to absolutely know he’s entirely 100% earnt it and that it’s not just the car.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Rich!

On this day in motorsport

Niki Lauda
Lauda, who died in 2019, was born 75 years ago today

Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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5 comments on “Bottas ‘definitely feels improvements compared to last year’ in new Sauber”

  1. COTD is spot-on, although track limits have generally been consistent since 2022, especially compared to both Whiting’s & Masi’s times.

  2. Coventry Climax
    22nd February 2024, 10:29

    Someone made it to COTD asking what Sauber was gonna do with flowvis.
    If I remember correctly, I commented that if serious, it was a silly remark, as flowvis comes in all colors, and fluo orange would do quite well on their fluo green cars.
    Now look at the article’s top picture again.

  3. Coventry Climax
    22nd February 2024, 10:39

    “We want to emphasise that the discussion in our broadcast has been speculative. Comments related to the future of the Red Bull F1 team principal have never been expressed as factual information.”

    Issue of the era: Guilty until proven innocent. Quickly -but only- make excuses when caught in the act.

    “We want to emphasize that we never bring any factual information at all.” ?

  4. I disagree with COTD. If F1 is not competitive then it is nothing. What is the point of a car racing championship where everyone knows who will be world champion before the first race has even got going.

    This is nothing against Max personally. We all know he is great driver and deserved WDC. But it would be good if he had to battle for it. As the saying goes, second is the first loser. Not a view I usually subscribe to but I am making the point.

    I have never liked it when anyone was dominating F1. Not Senna, not Schumacher, not Vettel, not Hamilton. The sport always offers some level of excitement and there have always been periods of domination. But it definitely better in my opinion when at least two or even three drivers even can be in the hunt.

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