Sauber aiming for a ‘reset’ after a difficult Miami Grand Prix

Formula 1 returns this week, with the grid kicking off the European portion of the schedule with the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. This week is likely to be an emotional one for the sport, as the grid returns to Imola for the first time since 2022, with last year’s race canceled due to devastating flooding in the region. In addition, this weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix marks 30 years since the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix at Imola, which saw the tragic deaths of rookie driver Roland Ratzenberger, and the legendary Ayrton Senna.

On the track, a number of teams are bringing upgrades to Imola, hoping for improved performance. One team looking for a “reset” following the Miami Grand Prix is Sauber. It was a struggle for the team in Miami, as both Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu finished at the back of the field in the Miami Grand Prix, as well as the F1 Sprint Race in Miami.

“We head to Imola for the first race of the European leg, aiming for a reset after what has been a tough weekend in Miami. We have had two weeks to regroup, analyse what went wrong last time out and make sure we address it,” said Team Representative Alessandro Alunni Bravi in Sauber’s media preview.

He noted that Sauber are among the teams bringing upgrades to Imola.

“Although we are yet to add points to our tally this season, we know we have the performance to do so and we have been in the mix in most races – we are confident in our means, and the upgrades we are bringing this week are a testament to the relentless work put in by the home team in Hinwil,” added Alunni Bravi. “We have seen over recent events how tight the field is, and how making it past the Q2 or Q3 thresholds is often a matter of hundredths of seconds. Our goal, now more than ever, is to be ready to take any opportunity that may arise, and to make the most of it to progress.”

Bottas noted the rich history of Imola, while outlining how the team hopes to turn the “lessons” from Miami into “improvements.”

“It’s great to be back in Imola – an old-school track with so much history and one that is a lot of fun to drive. It is always an [honor] to be racing in such an historic venue, supported by the Italian fans on the grandstands, and I hope the return to Europe will mark a swing in our season’s fortunes,” said the Sauber driver.

“Although Miami wasn’t really our weekend, it still allowed us to learn a lot, and hopefully we can turn those lessons into improvements. We are set to bring some updates this weekend, which should allow us to make a step forward – and hopefully score our first points of the season,” added Bottas. “After a few tough races, I am motivated to do well here in Imola and next week in Monaco, to kick off the European leg of the calendar in the best possible way.”

Zhou Guanyu actually turned in the best result from Sauber in Miami, finishing in P11 in the F1 Sprint Race. This weekend will mark his second time racing in F1 at the historic venue, where he placed PP15 back during the 2022 season.

“The entire team has been working hard over the past two weeks, regrouping after Miami and focusing on finalising the upgrades we will be bringing to Imola. I’m happy to be racing again on this track, following the cancellation of last year’s event. I have fond memories of the time I spent in this region, racing as a junior, and I always enjoy visiting,” described Zhou.

“With the new bits on our car, and a different track layout from Miami, we are confident and motivated to make a positive change to our season,” added the Sauber driver. “Getting things right from the very first session will be crucial: we have seen how important it is to qualify in a good position and hopefully this will help us get back in the mix to battle for points on Sunday.”

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