Stake unveils the C44


Sauber has revealed the Stake F1 car to be driven by Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu this season.

It's not the kind of Formula One car you've ever seen before. Aggressive, exciting, different - both on track and off it: the Stake F1 Team C44 is finally in the open.

The 2024 challenger of Stake F1 Team was unveiled in the historic setting of London's Guildhall, but there was nothing conventional or staid about it. There was an edginess to the event, the feeling of being at the start of a new era, to be witnessing the birth of a new way of doing racing: but, despite the stars in attendance and the glitz of the set-up, all eyes were on the new car. As Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu, our 2024 race drivers, looked on, the team lifted the covers off an impressive piece of engineering, the latest work of art to come out of Hinwil.

Clad in an attractive black and Fluo Racing Green livery - the shiny, viridescent hue itself the result of impressive development work by team partners, BASF - the look and feel of the C44 redefines what to expect on track. It's an eye-catcher, a head-turner, the centre of attention on every TV screen, the point of focus in every photograph. It's not the usual F1 car: it's not a tribute to the past, but a nod to a new and exciting future, one that incorporates everything that is great about our sport, and elevates it to the next level.

The C44 is the result of the indefatigable work of hundreds of people back in Hinwil, who for months on end designed, developed, produced and finally assembled the new car with a growing sense of excitement. It's the product of the determination of a technical team, led by Technical Director, James Key, to make a decisive step forward in the pecking order, to go back fighting where the team aims to fight.

The C44 is a marked departure from its predecessor, the C43: a slew of changes has been introduced - some very visible, some more subtle - to bring performance to the package and open up new areas of development. The most visible, and perhaps most consequential, is the shift to a new pull-rod front suspension, compared to the push-rod system sported on the C43: the shift is testament to the solid work produced by the team in Hinwil, which committed vast resources to it, and is driven mostly by the desire to unlock the aerodynamics benefits of the pull-rod arrangement.

The C44 sports also an aggressively redesigned aero package, with marked development evident in the sidepods and engine cover, which are taking existing concepts to new extremes and display the team's ability to package the car in reduced spaces, a change that also required the redesign of many of the car's internals; and a completely new floor, a key area to generating downforce. And, with the new development avenues opened by the choices made in the creation of the C44, the design team is already busy finalising some important updates that will be brought to track in the opening rounds of the championship, as the team intends to be a strong player in the development race.

As always, the proof is in the pudding: the C44 will get its first test of track action on Friday, during a shakedown in Barcelona, before travelling to Bahrain for the three days of testing that mark the official start of the season. Only then, and in the following week's Grand Prix, we will know just how good the C44 is: for now, we know it already tops the standings for the most daring, aggressive and disruptive car out there.

"The new car we unveiled today, the C44, is a tribute to the work done by James Key and the technical team, and to every man and woman in Hinwil, who all contributed to the car we see today," said Alessandro Alunni Bravi. "Witnessing the launch of a new car is always a special moment, and even more so when it marks the start of a new era, that of Stake F1 Team. We have a fresh new identity and we are excited about everything we have planned, on and off the track: today, though, it is all about the C44 and its potential. We are confident about this car and our team: we won't speak about specific targets, because it's always difficult to commit to numbers, but our targets are clear - to improve the performance of our car and our package. By package, I mean every area, from the race team to the operations on track, the pit stops, the strategy: it's more than just the car performance, and we are committed in all departments to make this step, this is the target. Then, we will see where our position will be as the season progresses: but the key target is to improve this year and to deliver a better job than we did in 2023."

"It's always great to see a new car coming out," added technical director, James Key. "The C44 project was already running before I joined the team, of course: I joined in the middle of it, so I have to give credit to the team, who have done a fantastic job. There's a great team in Hinwil, with a good and positive working atmosphere, and everyone's keen to make progress. Of course, designing and building a car like the C44 is not the work of one person: it's an immensely complex project, even more so nowadays, with the regulations we have. The key is really down to managing this process, with the hundreds of people who have been working hard to develop the car, design it and then ultimately build it.

"The C44 is virtually a completely new car, with a few carry-over areas at the rear of the car. The team had to take an ambitious direction well before I joined: there are many mechanical changes, some of which you can't see at all, but some are very visible. The front suspension is completely new, a tough and ambitious project for a team of our size, there are many aerodynamic changes, too, as would be expected given that this remains the primary area of development - so, overall, the car will really look quite different to last year's car. We took a lot of new, exciting directions, all of which appear to hold quite a bit of potential, so we're looking forward to seeing them on track."

"The new C44 definitely feels different," said Valtteri Bottas, "both in terms of looks and of what we can expect from the car. We need to perform as a team and extract the most out of this package, which has some impressive potential - nothing else matters. Personally speaking, going into the third season together with a team, the objectives need to be lofty. My own expectations are high, we definitely need to make a good step and see good progress from last year, a season in which, in all honesty, we didn't meet the targets that we set for ourselves. We need to fix that now, we need to step up our game and do better, but I have seen some real enthusiasm back in Hinwil and I am confident we can do it."

"First, you know, you can't miss the colour!" added Zhou Guanyu. "It's a very exciting new approach, especially in Formula One. And then from my side, of course, we're hoping to be a fast one. We've been putting in a lot of effort since the last season, especially in the second half of the year, after the summer break, just to make sure that we're understanding exactly where we had to improve as a team and what the plan for the guys back in the factory would be for the winter: now is the time to put everything together and get the car on track. The expectations are high but, at the same time, we won't know where we really stand until we start competing against our rivals. Still, a lot of effort went into the new car and I'm excited to drive it soon."

Check out our C44 gallery, here.

Article from Pitpass (

Published: 07/02/2024
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