AlphaTauri: Red Bull suspension key to 2023 resurgence

Jaden Diaz
13 Nov, 2023

At this end of the season, AlphaTauri is making a huge step forward in terms of performance. The Faenza team began its growth after the summer break, which culminated with Ricciardo’s great race in Mexico. The last three races have seen the team score points – allowing them to jump Haas and Alfa Romeo in the constructors’ standings.

“The objective from today was to score points and reduce the gap to Williams. We succeeded,” Claudio Balestra said post-race in Brazil.

In the final stint in Brazil, Ricciardo’s AT04 had excellent race pace, which will frustrate the team – considering the huge points lost. In Las Vegas, we go to an unknown track with a layout that places greater emphasis on aerodynamic efficiency.

It will be an important test for AlphaTauri, who are capable of top-10 results thanks to recent upgrades.

From Singapore, the AlphaTauri featured the RB19 suspension

AlphaTauri’s ascent started from afar and was full of steps. After the summer break, in this case in Singapore, a sort of new championship began for the Faenza team. This is not dissimilar to the path that McLaren began at Silverstone.

At the Marina Bay night stage, the car designed by Jody Eddington introduced the most important upgrade package of the year – with the implementation of the Red Bull RB19 rear suspension.

Up to that point, the Italian car had played the season with the suspension of the old RB18 from the previous year.

According to what Formu1a.uno sources have learned, the extra potential that Ricciardo and Tsunoda’s car has managed to express is largely due to the new mechanics and kinematics deriving from the suspension inherited from this year’s dominant cars.

Combined with the new sidepods and the new floor, the suspension has made the famous aerodynamic platform more stable, an aspect that is talked about a lot with these cars equipped with venturi channels.

In terms of aerodynamic design, the new suspension did not require a major redesign of the rear axle, as the scheme remained unchanged between 2022 and 2023 (push-rod).

This would have allowed for easier implementation, bringing with it “maximum profit with minimum effort”

AlphaTauri AT04 rear suspension comparison (before and after Singapore GP)

Reduced resistance and increased load: With the newfound correlation, the development worked

As admitted by technical chief Jody Egginton, the car suffered from significant drag at the beginning of the year, combined with a lack of aerodynamic downforce.

With data in hand, the AT04 has reduced a good part of the drag, which was the Achilles’ heel at the beginning of the year.

The lag in terms of efficiency has been halved, especially when compared directly to Red Bull. With the development program, the aerodynamicists from Faenza did not revolutionise the launch concept, but they perfected the starting point.

The 1056 hours in the wind tunnel (deriving from the BoP) were mainly used to evaluate more development path options and avoid going too “blind” into an F1 without tests.

How the AlphaTauri AT04 evolved into the 2023 finale – Illustration Rosario Giuliana

Everything revolved largely around the functioning of the bottom and finding aerodynamic stability. From August onwards, the Italian team likely obtained a better correlation with the data in the wind tunnel, working on the models to use.

For more than a year, the engineering team led by Egginton has had the Milton Keynes wind tunnel, the same one used by Red Bull. The aerodynamic department still works in Bicester, but we will move towards a more direct “sharing” between the “parent” and “satellite” teams.

The synergy will be seen on the technical side (use of gallery and CFD) and the title sponsor side. The “first step” will formally take place in 2024 with the change of name of the Faentina team.

The team will bring a name similar to the Red Bull brand, leaving aside the clothing section of the Austrian brand (AlphaTauri).

The updates are not finished: the last ‘upgrade ‘ will be important for the 2024 car.

The Feanza team is laying the foundations for a more solid future in F1. There will be a change of leadership in 2024, which will see Laurent Mekies (formerly Ferrari) taking up service as Team Principal. This is one of the many aspects the Red Bull group is working on.

On the technical front, the AT04 has not completely concluded development. With a rediscovered correlation, the Egginton technicians have pushed to bring as many new features as possible in this season finale in order to see the immediate effects to build the basis for the 2024 car.

The last update that will be seen in Abu Dhabi will be precise with a view to the car that we will see on track next season. It will be the latest evolved version of a surface that has been revised several times with the development of the AT04 – and should debut on the Yas Marina track.

The 2024 target will be a more “Red Bull-ised” car. The Italian team will focus on having an AT05 (if that’s what it’s called) that can permanently occupy the points.

There will be greater glue with the Red Bull group in Milton Keynes to establish a technical relationship more similar to the one currently present between Ferrari and Haas. The technical synergy will also be greater on the use of CFD and the mechanical front with the use of Ford Power Units.

Author: Rosario Giuliana
Co-authors: Giuliano Duchessa , Andrea Vergani

Translation: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang

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