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Sauber: Valtteri Bottas deserves apology for pitstop problems

The Australian Grand Prix once again exposed Sauber's operational inefficiencies, dealing a blow to the Swiss outfit and its drivers as they desperately sought valuable points.

Last weekend's race in Melbourne proved to be a tough challenge for the team, leaving them yearning for a top-10 finish that remained elusive.

Over the past two years, Sauber has experienced a noticeable decline, impacting not just their on-track performances but also the perception of their drivers within the racing community.

One such driver affected by this downturn is Valtteri Bottas. At the beginning of the 2022 season, the Finnish driver garnered frequent praise for his performances. 

Despite being in a car capable of consistently reaching Q3 in qualifying sessions, Bottas, a 10-time race winner, managed to deliver consistent results, with a podium contention even at Imola.

However, Sauber's lack of development at their Hinwil headquarters led to a swift decline in Bottas's performance, with the once regular top-10 finishes becoming a rarity. 

Simultaneously, the 34-year-old's market value as a driver took a hit, partly due to the lacklustre performance of last year's C43 car, which failed to make a significant impact on the grid.

The frustration was palpable for Bottas during the Australian Grand Prix, particularly due to the team's pit stop issues. 

Despite being in contention for valuable points, another disastrous pit stop dashed his hopes, highlighting Sauber's ongoing challenges with operational efficiency on race day.

"We need to apologise to our drivers, especially to Valtteri, who in the first part of the race, showed he could match the top ten drivers, and was clearly fighting for a points finish, thanks to a good start and strong pace," said Sauber team representative Alunni Bravi.

"As we said before the race, we had implemented mitigation measures for our pit stop issue. 

"Something that has improved the situation but, as we have seen, not completely solved the problem."

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