Valtteri Bottas Criticises Sauber As Hopes Of Audi Future Fade

Bottas Criticises Sauber As Hopes Of Audi Future Fade
Bottas Criticises Sauber As Hopes Of Audi Future Fade

Valtteri Bottas has issued some rare criticism of Sauber, amid rising rumours that he will be left out of the team’s plans for its works Audi future.

The Swiss outfit, now 100 per cent owned by Audi, went into the Melbourne weekend admitting that technical problems that have badly marred the pitstops so far in 2024 are not able to be fixed even for Suzuka next weekend.

“Mitigation measures” were put in place for Australia, but Sauber’s abysmal pitstop problems did not go away – even resulting in a 5000 euro fine for an errant wheel nut in the pitlane.

“We have redesigned all the components from the hub, nuts, everything,” insists team representative Alessandro Alunni Bravi, “but of course this takes time for the production.”

Worse still for Sauber, officially referred to as ‘Kick’ and ‘Stake’ this season, is that the new bright neon green car is slow.

“There is no need to report on the mood in the team,” said veteran F1 journalist Roger Benoit, who provides detailed coverage of Sauber’s progress for the Swiss newspaper Blick. “The sad and stony faces say it all.”

One of those stony faces belonged to the otherwise chirpy and popular Finn Bottas, a former Mercedes race winner who is now struggling to shine even in comparison with his Chinese teammate Guanyu Zhou.

More telling about his future with the team, however, is that he was highly critical of Sauber after the chequered flag in Melbourne.

“We could have scored points today,” he told Viaplay. “But if we can’t fix the pitstops, it doesn’t matter how the car is or how well you drive. And apparently it still hasn’t been fixed.”

Bottas, 34, says the pitstop problem is currently a bigger issue than the car’s performance itself.

“The pitstops are the most important thing that needs to be fixed,” he declared.

Bottas has said on several occasions recently that his own “priority” with regards to the future is that he is considered for the transition to Audi.

The Finnish newspaper Iltalehti noted after Melbourne: “No matter how you look at the situation through blue and white glasses, Bottas’ stock is not currently high in the driver market.”

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