“It is not rocket science” — Bottas calls on Sauber F1 to bring sizeable upgrades to get out of current rut

Photo Credit: Sauber
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Valtteri Bottas, who has 10 race wins and 67 podiums to his name in F1, has been having a dismal season. The 34-year-old is driving well but does not have the car to deliver big results.

The 2024 season has been particularly difficult since the Finn is yet to score a point. That continued in Canada last weekend.

Running in P17, he moved up five points under the first safety car as he did not pit for fresh inters. It paid off as he stayed there until the switch to slicks happened.

Unfortunately for Bottas, his chances of points ended here. Sauber went aggressive as they stopped earlier than most. As he struggled to get heat in the tyres, he was overcut by Sainz, Perez and Hülkenberg on warm inters.

Graining in the closing laps saw him fall away from the Alpine and Haas cars, finishing a lonely P13.

“Yeah, I mean there was some opportunities. The first one was our decision to stay with the inter and not go for the new set, which in the end I think was correct.

“We gained a few places, but then unfortunately the stop for the slick — for us I think we tried to be aggressive — but it was just maybe a lap too early. I struggled a lot on the out lap. If I could change something I would probably stop a bit later.”

Sauber changed rear wings before the race, going with a higher downforce one. Although it gave the Finn more grip, overtaking was next to impossible in the wet and dry.

“It’s easier to go that way, you have more grip. For these conditions it was nice to have it.

“But ultimately overtaking is still so difficult that today was decided more on the strategy, which tyre you were on and when.”

Regarding pitting under the final safety car for new tyres, the team decided against it as they would have fallen behind Magnussen. The Dane did ultimately pass him, however.

“I would have lost at least one place. So we decided to try and keep the track position and see what happens.”

Bottas added that Sauber needs to keep bringing more upgrades to improve their performance as they are Formula One’s slowest team at present.

Despite five cars retiring in Montreal, the Hinwil-based squad never looked like grabbing a point.

“It does say something [about our lack of performance], yeah.

“We still have work to do, We need to keep bringing upgrades and make the car faster. It is not rocket science, we just need more bits,” Bottas bluntly stated.

Out of the nine races held so far this season, Bottas has been eliminated in Q1 from six of those races.

When asked if Sauber is bringing upgrades to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, which is the ultimate test for an F1 car, the Finnish driver says they only have small bits coming for now.

“We have small things but a very high downforce track, a different track to here. I think it is going to be close, as we have seen. The next step is to get back to Q2 and then we can fight a bit better.”