Stake technical director James Key says the C44 is “virtually a completely new car” as the team takes an aggressive approach to 2024.

The technical regulations have predominantly remained unchanged from last season to this, and with Key joining midway through 2023 after leaving McLaren, he says his input has been limited. However, with Stake describing the car as sporting “an aggressively redesigned aero package”, Key says there’s been an overhaul of the entire car for this season.

“It’s always great to see a new car coming out,” Key said. “The C44 project was already running before I joined the team, of course: I joined in the middle of it, so I have to give credit to the team, who have done a fantastic job. There’s a great team in Hinwil, with a good and positive working atmosphere, and everyone’s keen to make progress.

“Of course, designing and building a car like the C44 is not the work of one person: it’s an immensely complex project, even more so nowadays, with the regulations we have. The key is really down to managing this process, with the hundreds of people who have been working hard to develop the car, design it and then ultimately build it.

“The C44 is virtually a completely new car, with a few carry-over areas at the rear of the car. The team had to take an ambitious direction well before I joined: there are many mechanical changes, some of which you can’t see at all, but some are very visible.

“The front suspension is completely new, a tough and ambitious project for a team of our size, there are many aerodynamic changes, too, as would be expected given that this remains the primary area of development – so, overall, the car will really look quite different to last year’s car. We took a lot of new, exciting directions, all of which appear to hold quite a bit of potential, so we’re looking forward to seeing them on track.”

One of the main changes Key speaks of is the redesigned front suspension that has changes to pull-rod this season from the push-rod approach of 2023, that the team says is designed to open up new areas of development.

The technical changes go hand-in-hand with a major change in identity as the team evolves from Alfa Romeo into Stake – featuring a brand new livery – and Valtteri Bottas says it makes for increased expectations.

“The new C44 definitely feels different, both in terms of looks and of what we can expect from the car,” Bottas said. “We need to perform as a team and extract the most out of this package, which has some impressive potential – nothing else matters.

“Personally speaking, going into the third season together with a team, the objectives need to be lofty. My own expectations are high, we definitely need to make a good step and see good progress from last year, a season in which, in all honesty, we didn’t meet the targets that we set for ourselves. We need to fix that now, we need to step up our game and do better, but I have seen some real enthusiasm back in Hinwil and I am confident we can do it.”