Feb.7 (GMM) Sauber will actually have two different official names for Formula 1’s 2024 season.
On the nose of the new neon green car for 2024, the name ‘Sauber’ has prominently returned to the Swiss-team’s livery now that the Alfa Romeo naming deal is over.
“For us, it was important, after six years with Alfa Romeo, to establish a new team identity,” said team representative Alessandro Alunni Bravi.
“Before the (2026) Audi era, it was important to present ourselves with this new identity.”
The new identity, however, is not a reversion to Sauber – which is merely the company name. On the official 2024 FIA entry list, the team’s name is actually the awkward mouthful Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber.
However, the team has been referring to itself as Stake F1 – even though the chassis name is officially the somewhat amusing ‘Kick Sauber’.
“It is also important for a team like ours to have these commercial partnerships in place,” Bravi said. “So we’re taking advantage of the opportunity to have such an important partner as Stake joining us, like Kick, to create this new team identity.”
Sauber has cleverly positioned itself to be able to drop the ‘Stake’ name when required in 2024 and revert to ‘Kick’ – because Stake, an Australian betting portal with a Curacaoan casino license, is banned in Switzerland.
And according to Swiss broadcaster SRF, Switzerland’s federal casino commission has opened proceeding against Sauber for illegally advertising Stake.
The Swiss ban, which is echoed with similar bans in many of the F1 race locations this year, is why Sauber launched its 2024 car this week in London rather than Switzerland.
Bravi denies Sauber has broken Swiss law.
“As we did last year, we will adhere to all applicable laws,” he insisted. “And if Stake is banned, we will have an alternative team name. Depending on the country, we work with Stake or Kick, a different sponsor.”
But according to legal expert Patrick Krauskopf, switching between Stake and Kick is unlikely to convince the authorities in Switzerland.
“The word Stake is already so strongly imprinted in the minds of viewers that they have probably crossed the red line into unauthorised advertising,” said the competition law professor at Zurich University.