Valtteri Bottas expects the cooperation with Audi to move up a notch now that the team has transitioned from Alfa Romeo to Stake.
The Audi project has been confirmed since August 2022 but the German car manufacturer will not arrive on the grid until 2026.
That is not to say there has been nothing going on in the background though with Audi building their engine in Neuburg and Bottas expects the cooperation to go up a level now.
Audi F1 and Sauber operation to move at faster pace
Sauber will build the chassis in Switzerland while Audi will provide the engine but there had been rumours that the German giant was getting cold feet about their entry.
When asked by PlanetF1.com, Bottas insisted that it was just “rumours.”
“I think it’s just rumours,” the Finn said. “From what I understand and what I’ve heard, they’re still fully committed for the future.”
As to the relationship moving forward, Bottas expects the two parties to be more closely aligned now that Sauber’s partnership with another car brand, Alfa Romeo, has ended.
“A little bit more now that Alfa Romeo brand is out,” Bottas said of the work with Audi. “I think the cooperation will start quite soon, I would imagine because Audi already wants to be competitive in their first year. We’ve got Sauber and now they will need to work together.
“But that’s all going on behind the scenes. As a driver, whatever meetings and stuff is happening behind, we are not always aware of those things but things are starting to pick up now.”
Stake have already run into some problems with the gambling name being banned in certain countries but team representative Alessandro Alunni Bravi was confident they had a plan to get around that.
“As you know, last year we alternated two different names according to the different countries where we go racing,” he said.
“We will be fully complying with all the local applicable laws and where Stake is prohibited, so gambling advertising is prohibited, we will use a different name. As last year, we have Kick as one of our most important partners – our chassis name is a Kick Sauber – so where we are not going to race as Stake F1 Team, we will use a second team name.
“The team’s name in Formula 1 depends on many different elements, including commercial partnerships. So our new team identity is not that we forget Sauber. We are the Sauber group, we are a solid group of people working together, but we present ourselves in the F1 community with a new team identity for the next two seasons.
“This is important for us, it is not just a commercial partnership but it is the way we want to approach the F1 world, where creativity, innovation and ingenuity are part of our marketing strategy. This is also important to provide the team with all the means and resources to approach the next two seasons that will see ourselves in a strong transformation process.”