Tost: AlphaTauri changing staff, improving ties with Red Bull to progress

Jaden Diaz

Franz Tost has outlined that AlphaTauri has made a variety of changes to rectify the team’s difficult start to the year with the AT04.

The Italian squad is currently 9th in the standings, scoring just one point in the first three rounds – their lowest points tally at this stage since 2007.

Although Yuki Tsunoda has competed for points at every race so far, the consensus is that the 22-year-old is outperforming his machinery at this stage in the season.

AlphaTauri has arguably produced the worst car in F1 for 2023, lacking in downforce whilst simultaneously suffering from very limited top speed.

These facts are made even worse when considering the success of Red Bull, with AlphaTauri the polar opposite of its sister team in terms of performance at this stage.

Franz Tost made fiery comments about his team after the first round, suggesting that he no longer “trusted” his engineers after their promises of a competitive car in 2023.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – APRIL 02: Scuderia AlphaTauri Team Principal Franz Tost looks on prior to the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Albert Park Grand Prix Circuit on April 02, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202304020250 // Usage for editorial use only //

Although these quotes were somewhat hyperbolic, most jokes carry some truth with them – and so significant changes have already been implemented at AlphaTauri:

“The aero department was reorganised. We have separated with some employees. I am now expecting an increase in performance from the new people,” Franz Tost told Sport1 in an interview.

“I don’t want to name any names yet… [but] the responsibility is now divided between three people. 

“We can’t just poach capable people from Red Bull as Aston Martin did. The newcomers they signed were able to develop the car from an early stage…

“But the co-operation with Red Bull is now being intensified. However, the regulations are very specific – you can’t just copy parts.”

Development will become increasingly intense as the F1 season continues, with teams likely to introduce their first substantial updates at the upcoming Baku GP.

It will be difficult to anticipate how quickly – if at all – AlphaTauri can recover, considering the AT04 needs improvements in all areas.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – APRIL 01: Yuki Tsunoda of Japan driving the (22) Scuderia AlphaTauri AT04 makes a pitstop during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Albert Park Grand Prix Circuit on April 01, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202304010178 // Usage for editorial use only //

Yuki Tsunoda has already outlined the set-up sacrifices that are being made to stay competitive, meaning that drivability is another term on the team’s to-do list.

This is not to say that AlphaTauri is completely uncompetitive, though, since Tsunoda has consistently fought for the same piece of track as faster cars.

However, even the incident-riddled Australian GP could only reward Yuki Tsunoda with a single point – whose heroic defending was insufficient to keep faster cars behind.

AlphatTauri might feel the events after the red flag restart went against them (with Tsunoda denied a possible P5), but they are ultimately reliant on others retiring to finish in the top 10.

The team can take strength from generally well-executed races to start the season, but the changes Franz Tost has mentioned will be essential if they are to consistently fight for points.

Fortifying relations with Red Bull would not be a feasible solution for any other team, but it is logical for AlphaTauri to leverage its relationship with the Austrian squad to become more competitive.

Helmut Marko has described the situation at Red Bull’s second team as insufficient, so it will be intriguing to observe how the situation at the Fenza-based team evolves.