Milton Keyes will work more closely with Faenza, bringing the engineering support at AlphaTauro to the highest level. AlphaTauri plans on bringing “everything possible from Red Bull” to the new 2024 car.
It must be remembered that F1’s regulations allow suspensions, gearboxes, and elements of the cooling system to be shared. AlphaTauri’s relationship with Red Bull will likely be reminiscent – at least a little – of the partnerships between Mercedes-Racing Point and Ferrari-Haas.
The AT04 has already been fitted with a new rear suspension in Singapore. The sensitive nature of this area of F1 cars means AlphaTauri has not seen huge performance gains immediately. However, this is a classic example of taking one step backwards to take two steps forward.
Other teams won’t stand still, but if all goes well, the RB20’s sister team could move up the grid in a major way.
AlphaTauri’s next title sponsor teal is done. However the team is renamed, their link to parent company Red Bull will be stronger.
As in previous years, the Red Bull logo should reappear clearly on the team’s livery. Despite the large transport of technology from England, Red Bull has ensured there will be no downsizing in Italy.
Instead, an English technology hub will be implemented to work on simulations and direct communication between the teams.
Meanwhile, the work to transform the AlphaTauri AT04 continues. The team’s new philosophy has not been fully implemented, but changes will continue until Abu Dhabi.
If we analyse the design of the sidepods and floor, there is no doubt visible changes will be made. After all, the same power unit creates favourable conditions in the design of the cooling package.
If we look at the lack of progression, their relative race pace in Japan remained the same as in Jeddah. However, this data does not fully reflect the team’s trajectory.
There will be a revised floor in Austin to achieve a more stable load. AlphaTauri’s technicians expect to unlock more performance towards the end of the year.
But the real target is to show up for the tests in Bahrain in February with solid fundamentals. From the end of January, after six months of gardening leave, Laurent Mekies will take over as Team Principal, succeeding Franz Tost.
The Frenchman will support the new CEO, Peter Bayer, who took office at the beginning of the year.
Red Bull has a significant advantage in certain areas. Some engineers believe they have the equivalent of three development packages in their pocket, others more.
Given the regulatory stability, it could be a great legacy for the Italian team to exploit with the appropriate limits. However, McLaren has shown that it is possible to close the gap in a short time.
In Saudi Arabia, the MCL60 had a 2.6% gap in race pace, which is enormous. Meanwhile, in Singapore and Suzuka, the gap was only 0.27%.
Last time out in Qatar, where there was almost non-existent grip, their pace was very impressive. It means that McLaren is producing more downforce than anyone else.
Andrea Stella’s technicians have understood an important key, and in this regard, an impartial engineer confided to us:
“The simplicity, the technical clarity and the humility of the technical group have produced results quickly. It is obvious that the last two-tenths are the more complex to recover”.
Unsurprisingly, the next car will be in “maximum continuity with the current one,” confirms the McLaren Team Principal.
If there is another team that thinks the gap can be made up in 2024, it is Mercedes. James Allison explained that the W15 will be “completely different in terms of design, and no stone will be left unturned”.
But it is clear that beating Verstappen in 2024 will be a very complicated task for anyone.
Most engineers are cautious about the real possibilities, while 2025 could be more uncertain as the projects converge in performance and because many engineers think that the budget of development will be 70-80% dedicated to the new 2026 cars.
Author: Giuliano Duchessa
Translation: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang