2024 Stake F1 car launch: lurid green promise of 'new era' with Sauber / Alfa Romeo rebrand


Sauber rebrands itself as Stake F1 with an edgy new image, as part of its 2024 F1 car reveal showing this year's C44 in a bright green and black livery. More details from the event, plus driver line-up and key personnel

There’s a new name on the grid for 2024, although it’s far from a new team. Stake F1 is the latest identity for the Sauber team which was most recently known as Alfa Romeo (are you keeping up?).

You don’t have to look hard to spot the difference. In fact, you can’t miss it. The new car — said to be the real thing that will take to the track in pre-season testing — is an assault on the senses, with a bright green and black livery, with matching race suits for the drivers.

The rhetoric is just as brash. “This isn’t your grandad’s F1 team,” said launch host Naomi Schiff, a little sheepishly. There was a promise of a “new era”, of elevating F1 to the next level and, ahead of the car reveal, of “unleashing the beast”.

2024 Stake F1 car launch rear
2024 Stake F1 car launch at angle

However, the title sponsorship deal with the Stake gambling firm is destined to last for a maximum of two years. After that, Sauber will join forces with Audi, which will bring another rebrand.

Behind the new identity, little has changed, with the same driver line-up and senior team figures as in 2023. After another season of disappointing results, it will be hoping to return to the midfield fight and find more consistent performance before Audi arrives.

“We have a fresh new identity and we are excited about everything we have planned, on and off the track,” said team representative Alessandro Alunni Bravi.

“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.”

The team has switched from the push-rod front suspension used on last year’s C43, to the less-conventional pull-rod, which joins the nose at a lower point where it can have a significant effect on airflow.

“The C44 is virtually a completely new car, with a few carry-over areas at the rear of the car,” said technical director James Key. “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, 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.”


2023: Reliability and misfortune plagues Alfa Romeo’s final run

It’s likely that Alfa Romeo would have wanted to bid its final farewell to F1 in a more memorable fashion. But a rollercoaster of results in 2023 made it a campaign Bottas, Zhou and company will probably want to forget.

Related article

Neither driver finished higher than eighth across the season, resulting in a disappointing ninth place finish in the constructors’ standings — just four points ahead of Haas at the very back of the field. Nevertheless, there were some positives.

Bottas continued his stellar record in Bahrain: qualifying 12th before climbing to eighth — narrowly beating out the rampant Alpine of Pierre Gasly. A duplicate result under harsh conditions in Qatar accompanied by single point finishes in Canada and Italy were perhaps the only highlights for a team which struggled for consistent pace from its draggy car.

Zhou followed an impressive rookie campaign in 2022 with a selection of mediocre performances: finishing ninth in Australia, Spain and Qatar, but still lagged way behind his team-mate in qualifying and race pace.


2024: Building toward the future

F1 Audi

Audi is set to complete its takeover of Sauber in 2026 — but until then, the current outfit is on its own

Getty Images

After ending its ties with Alfa Romeo at the end of the 2023 season, the Sauber group will hope to continue its development process as it waits for its long-awaited partnership with Audi in 2026. Despite the underwhelming performance of both the car and its drivers in 2023, no major staff changes were made in order to “preserve an element of consistency”, according to team principal Bravi.

Alongside other young drivers hoping for a chance to prove themselves on the F1 stage, Sauber junior driver Theo Pourchaire will likely be disappointed by this decision as after winning the F2 title in Abu Dhabi he has now effectively been forced to the sidelines in 2024. The young Frenchman had previously acted as the teams reserve driver but it is currently unconfirmed if he will continue in this role in the future.

But should Bottas or Zhou continue to spiral and the team were to drop even further back from the midfield fight, Pourchaire may certainly be among the front-runners to replace them ahead of the Audi re-shuffle.


Stake F1 2023 driver line-up

Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo portrait
Valtteri Bottas Zhou Guanyu 
  • Bottas contracted with the team until 2025.
  • Zhou contracted with the team until the end of 2024.
  • 2023 F2 champion Theo Pourchaire confirmed as reserve driver for 2024


Key personnel

Sauber CEO: Andreas Seidl

Audi F1 team boss Andreas Seidl

Joining McLaren in 2019, Seidl arrived in F1 on a cloud of success after guiding Porsche’s LMP1 programme back to the top of the World Endurance Championship. Regarded as a serial winner, the German was appointed as team principal, tasked with returning McLaren to its former title winning glory.

Although he was unsuccessful there, he has a very similar requirement at Sauber, joining as CEO in January 2023. Unlike most team bosses, it’s likely Seidl wasn’t too focused on Alfa Romeo’s on-track success in 2023, instead concentrating on Audi’s integration into the series in 2026.

Stake F1 team representative: Alessandro Alunni Bravi

Extending from his role as Managing Director of Alfa Romeo, Bravi will also be its F1 representative in 2023. The Italian has extensive motor sport experience and has been part of the Sauber board since 2017, making him an ideal and reliable replacement to Frederic Vasseur, who moved to Ferrari, in running day-to-day operations.

Previously undertaking roles in team and driver management, Bravi appears to have what it takes to guide Stake F1 to an improved season in 2024.