AlphaTauri bringing “nice step forward” for car over next three races

2021 F1 season

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AlphaTauri will bring a series of updates for their car over the next three races following their promising start to the 2021 F1 season promisingly in Bahrain.

Pierre Gasly took fifth on the grid for the season-opening race, putting AlphaTauri fourth-quickest among the 10 teams and lapping eight-tenths of a second shy of sister team Red Bull.

The team’s technical director Jody Egginton said AlphaTauri have successfully regained some of the downforce which was lost due to new rules for 2021 which reduced the bodywork dimensions of various elements at the rear of the car.

“We recovered a reasonable chunk of load,” he explained. “And now we’re trying to work on increasing the operating window, giving the car a wider operating window aerodynamically to work in, especially in low-speed. And then the driver can exploit that and we’ll go quicker.”

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021
Gasly took damage early, ruining his race
The team is treading carefully to ensure it has fully understood the gains it has made and how the car is working before rushing to further increase its performance, said Egginton.

“I think we’ve got a good view on what the car is and then that allows you to say, right, what do we want to target? So it’s aero development, it’s exploiting more performance from the areas of the car which have been affected by the regulation changes, and making sure that the changes, as we develop that, we don’t upset something else, really. So it’s just rolling development.

“We’ll have some new bits in Imola, we’ll have some new bits in Portugal, we’ll have some new bits in Spain. It’s incremental, there’s no headline-grabbers, but by Spain we should have a nice step forward.”

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AlphaTauri have “reasonable expectations” about their performance in the next race at Imola, which has “some similarities” to Bahrain’s layout, Egginton added.

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021
Tsunoda bagged two points for AlphaTauri on his debut
The team’s performance tended to fluctuate from track to track last year. Egginton wants them to perform more consistently this season.

“I was happy with the pace of the car last year but there were a couple of events where we performed really well and a couple of events where we went home a bit sad-faced. So we want to try to minimise that.

“You’ve got to do it in the midfield because it’s so tight, and it looks still so tight, that if you drop points, everyone is stealing points off everyone and you can’t afford to drop points. We scored a lot of points last year and finished seventh. I think that’s a testament to how tight it is, really.”

AlphaTauri finished seventh in the championship last year, losing out in a five-way contest over third place, which was covered by 95 points. Egginton said the team most score more consistently this year.

“Last year we were in that mix. But the variance in our performance across the midfield was a bit greater than we wanted. Some weekends we had the car working really well, other the weekends we struggled a little bit.

“The second half of the year that variance reduced and there were certain things we did to try and do that. And then this year, it’s a sample of one [race], it appears we’re back in the mix.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 8 comments on “AlphaTauri bringing “nice step forward” for car over next three races”

    1. Could someone elaborate on what “bigger operational window in lower speeds means”? Is it a bigger range of aerodynamic settings where the tyres are switched on in lower speed corners?

      Reply moderated
      1. I would think it is quite like you suggest in your second question. They have all had floor taken away i.e. downforce, and have found ways to claw that downforce back, and I would think that work continues. I would think they would like more downforce at lower speeds but are also leery not to upset the balance of the car at high speeds and harm performance and laps times overall by trying to improve low speed corner speeds.

    2. Sensible caution, and probably already developing next year’s car.

      1. @gabf1 Everyone is and has been since January 1. The more relevant question is how early will all or most teams switch focus 100% on next year. Haas pretty much already did before the season had even begun, but I assume others will follow suit relatively soon.

        1. @jerejj I get what you are saying but as to when the top teams can switch 100% onto next year is I think highly debatable. I’m not sure that Merc and RBR, for this season, will be able to stop completely on this year’s cars, especially if they find themselves in a see-saw battle this season. Better to fight for these titles now while they are in hand, especially if one has a decent chance as the season winds down, than to lay off and cede the titles and assume next years effort is more a winner than everyone else’s, no? Of course the teams talk about this fine line of how much to put into this year’s car vs. next, and I think the top teams are pretty good at doing both at the same time, or really, may have no choice, if we all are to get the exciting down-to-the-wire season this year that we hope to see.

    3. .8… at the end of last season they were often .5 away. The only big change this year is that Ferrari’s engines is not useless it is almost useless.

    4. I believe they are talking about fighting Ferrari and McLaren for third.
      But an important part imo is to stay at 1sec from RedBull. After the first stint, they would be well placed to help RBR pit stop strategies. By staying out longer, or simply doing the opposite of Mercedes, they can neutralize any strategies the champions can come up with. It’s 2 against 2 for the win, but it may be a 4 against 2 in strategy.
      Unless Aston comes back to life. And they will. But they can only count on one driver, (_____fill___here), and Aston certainly has its own goals.

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