The Swiss outfit has taken advantage of a two-year gap between its Alfa Romeo deal and the switch to full Audi works branding in 2026 to introduce a fluo green and black livery for its first season with Stake as sole title sponsor.

The C44 will be shaken down by Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu in a filming day in Barcelona on Friday prior to the official F1 test in Bahrain on February 21-23.

The new car is the first to be developed with the input of technical director James Key, although the project was already well under the way when the former McLaren man started work at the team in September.

It features what the team calls an “aggressively redesigned” aerodynamic package and a switch from a push-rod to a pull-rod front suspension – a configuration used previously by Red Bull and McLaren, which is primarily intended to create an aero benefit.

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Sauber C44

Photo by: Sauber F1 Team

Sauber has indicated that it has planned a more ambitious R&D program than in the past, noting that it is “finalizing 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”.

Team representative Alessandro Alunni Bravi has said the new green look is part of a conscious effort to embrace change after the Alfa Romeo years and with the team building towards Audi’s entry.

“There’s a new identity for our team, as we enter as Stake F1 Team,” said the Italian. “We saw a lot of changes, which makes this such an exciting era for us.

“This partnership will help us reach a new audience and expand our fan base. It also gives us a way to have a fresh and innovative approach in the way we communicate.

“There are changes in other areas. We are developing our team structure, strengthening our personnel, and this implies work is ongoing in Hinwil in all areas. “It’s a new exciting era for our team.”

Alunni Bravi has said that the team has developed an improved car – although there was similar optimism in the camp last year – while acknowledging that the C44’s potential can only be judged against the progress made by rivals.

“Being at the start of this new era doesn’t mean we’ll get better performance immediately,” he said. “Everything we have done during this winter, however, makes us optimistic that we can make a step forward.

“We have worked hard under the direction of our new technical director, James Key, to develop our project and our car in all areas, taking more extreme decisions, and trying to improve every single detail.

“The new technical group made a step forward. At the same time, though, we are realistic. We need to see what the other teams, our competitors, have done during the winter.

“We know that we have improved, and we will soon see if this improvement is enough to compete for a better position.”

Sauber C44

Sauber C44

Photo by: Sauber F1 Team

Alunni Bravi has stressed that all aspects of the team are being addressed during the transition to the Audi era.

“These two years will see our team undergo a big transformation process towards 2026, when we will become the Audi works team,” he said.

“Our focus, though, is on the here and now. We know that it is important to lay the foundations of our team every day. This is why we are working very hard to improve all the areas of our organization, under the leadership of [CEO] “Andreas Seidl.”

In its final season as Alfa Romeo, the team claimed only ninth in the World Championship, with a pair of eighth places for Valtteri Bottas representing the best results. Alunni Bravi expects to see a better performance this year.

“We cannot speak about specific targets, because it’s always difficult to commit to numbers,” he noted. “Our objectives 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.”

Sauber C44

Sauber C44

Photo by: Sauber F1 Team

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