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Struggling Sauber Duo Pin Hopes on Miami Being an Outlier as F1 Futures Hang in the Balance



F1's challenged pair optimistic that Miami's race is a one-off as they face uncertain career prospects

The weekend proved difficult for a couple of drivers battling to secure their positions in F1.

Sauber competitor Valtteri Bottas is optimistic that their disappointing showing at the Miami Grand Prix was just a one-off as he battles to secure his future in Formula 1.

In Miami, both Bottas and his team member, Zhou Guanyu, faced difficulties, as they were eliminated in the first qualifying round.

Neither of the drivers vied for the points, with Bottas notably falling behind from where he started.

The Sauber team experienced a noticeable decline in performance, with both vehicles reaching the third qualifying session in the Chinese sprint race.

Bottas had a chance to score points in the premier race in Shanghai until a technical problem caused him to withdraw from the competition.

Both drivers' contracts expire at the end of the year, and with Sauber showing no interest in keeping them on board, they are in dire need of a significant performance.

Bottas is optimistic that Sauber's disappointing showing in Miami was just an isolated incident.

"Clearly, the initial situation left much to be desired, which made it sensible to attempt an alternative approach. However, truthfully, the timing of the Safety Car could not have been more unfavorable in relation to our strategy," he remarked.

"I'm optimistic that this was a one-off occurrence. Our performance has been stronger in the previous two competitions. The upcoming race at Imola features a distinct track, so with some updates to the car, we'll have another opportunity to assess. However, it's a close competition where even minor improvements can lead to significant advantages."

Zhou succeeded in overtaking Bottas in Miami, engaging in a close battle with Oscar Piastri during the final laps.

Zhou mentioned, "The situation with the Safety Car wasn't really detrimental for us, but the challenge was that we opted for soft tires, which meant we had to manage them for nearly 30 laps as they degrade," he remarked.

"I believe the problem stemmed from not having enough maximum speed compared to Alex, which made it difficult for me to overtake him on the straight sections. This essentially affected our performance throughout the race."

Zhou disclosed that Sauber experimented with different configurations, yet none proved successful.

"This weekend, it's evident that both cars have faced significant challenges. We experimented with various setups throughout Friday and Saturday, yet unfortunately, none proved effective," he further stated.

"Conversely, it seems that many of our rivals introduced improvements for the recent races, whereas we've been operating with essentially the same setup from a few races back. I'm optimistic that by the time we reach Imola, we'll be able to advance. The real question is by how much."

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