Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, Monza, 2022

Ninth place “not acceptable” for AlphaTauri – Marko

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In the round-up: Red Bull motorsport consultant Helmut Marko says the team’s junior squad did not perform well enough this year.

In brief

AlphaTauri must raise their game, says Marko

AlphaTauri sank to ninth in the championship this year, its worst result since 2018 when it competed as Toro Rosso. Marko said the team were “beaten below their value” in an interview with Auto Motor und Sport.

“The car had too little downforce” – Marko
“For the potential, technically and financially, ninth place is not acceptable,” said Marko. “They made a lot of mistakes in strategy. The car had too little downforce. At the moment we are in the process of taking stock and looking at which screws we have to turn.”

Oliver Mintzlaff, who has taken charge of Red Bull’s sports division following the death of Dietrich Mateschitz in October, sees the need for improvement at the team, said Marko.

“Initial talks have been held with our new boss, Mr Mintzlaff, and everyone agrees that it wouldn’t make sense to rebuild a successful package like Red Bull Racing.

“Where there is a need, there is AlphaTauri. This was not satisfactory in the past year.”

Kaylen Frederick moves teams for third FIA F3 season

Kaylen Frederick will drive for ART Grand Prix in FIA Formula 3 next year, his third season in the championship.

The 20-year-old raced for Carlin in his rookie season in 2021, but had his campaign curtailed by injury and COVID-19. For this year he joined Hitech GP, and with a full campaign was able to score points seven times to come 17th in the standings.

Previously the American was a frontrunner in USF2000 in his home country, and won the BRDC British F3 championship in its last year before being renamed renamed GB3.

Australia launches new open-wheel series

Australia already has S5000, Formula 3 and Formula Ford but another national single-seater series will start next year with the arrival of Australian Formula Open (AFO).

Formula Open already existed as a state championship in Victoria, then relaunched as AFO last month with a one-off event at Phillip Island featuring old F3 cars formerly driven by Valtteri Bottas and Romain Grosjean as well as previous-generation Toyota Racing Series and F4 cars.

AFO will have six rounds in 2023, racing at Winton Motor Raceway, Sydney Motorsport Park, The Bend Motorsport Park, Queensland Raceway, Sandown and Phillip Island. The series is being fronted by three-time Australian F3 champion Tim Macrow.

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Comment of the day

Aston Martin have announced next summer they will be knocking down their old factory, which was formerly home of the Jordan, Midland, Spyker, Force India and Racing Point teams. A RaceFans reader who once worked at Jordan shared some of his memories of the building by Silverstone.

That’s sad. I have fond memories of working there in the summer of 1997:

  • Getting to sit in I think the beautiful Jordan 191 in reception and wonder how the drivers drove without being able to see where they were going.
  • Getting the door slammed behind me when I stepped into the pitch black composites oven. Thankfully it had a door handle on the inside too.
  • The entire factory stopping working to watch the Melinda Messenger photo shoot outside.
  • Taking on and beating Riccardo Zonta in F1 97 on the cafe’s PS1, then sharing our respective F1 test baptisms.
  • Nearly getting run over by Ralf Schumacher in some of his first ever pitstop practice, acting as the most expendable member of the team.
  • Asking Ralf on the pit wall where his braking point for a pitstop was, being told he didn’t really have one, then subsequently seeing him throw away fourth in the race by overshooting it…
  • Being sent to buy Tesco Value kitchen foil for the heat shielding. Only the cheapest (and so lightest) would do.
  • Seeing the pain and depression on the face of the lead aerodynamicist as initial commissioning of the Banbury wind tunnel was going badly due to the rolling belt having a sizeable jump at the overlap.
  • Being smuggled in a van into Silverstone to spectate at Friday practice without a ticket.
  • Nearly leaving my braking too late whilst running in a Le Mans start to the staff karting final but just managing to not fall over the kart and instead made up places. And getting to within 1.75 sec of Fisichella’s lap record… on a 24 second lap!
  • Donating the test team’s leftover McDonalds desserts to an appreciative Ferrari team next door.
  • Alesici

    Happy birthday!

    Happy birthday to Dan M, Huhhii and Tony Hamilton!

    Author information

    Ida Wood
    Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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    8 comments on “Ninth place “not acceptable” for AlphaTauri – Marko”

    1. Great COTD, sounds like a brilliant summer. It’s probably a bit more professional these days.

    2. Thank you for the birthday wishes. Happy holidays to RaceFans’ writers and all the users!
      Forza Kimi!

    3. Marko couldn’t be more right, but unfortunately, improving from P9 might be difficult, given midfield tightness.

      A special & insightful COTD. Ralf’s race engineer (for a bit at least) at the time, if I interpreted one part correctly & I wonder which race featured his overshooting error.

      1. That’s what happens when you have Gasly driving for you. Imagine that they actually made money getting rid of PG. What a deal!

        Tsunoda wasn’t a good driver either and his spoiled tantrums screaming at the engineers all season couldn’t have been good for team morale.

      2. Haha, no Jere, not the race engineer! I did wash his car though, as he was off to a wedding after the testing. I was one of two of Jordan’s first student engineers, hence my dispensability of acting as the most dangerously positioned left rear marker to help Ralf practice stopping in his box. He stalled it, so as the deafening sound suddenly stopped, a quiet voice said “Oops, I think I forgot something.” The race he then overshot it at was the ’97 British GP that followed the 1st test I was at.
        I also spoke to Fisichella on the pit wall, and asked whether slipstreaming a car in the wet provides a net speed increase or decrease, due to all the spray. He said he didn’t know, as doing so would have prevented him from seeing anything. I’ve still not found out the answer.

        Thanks for everyone’s kind words, and finally my 2nd COTD – it seems my non-Jordan history comments never make the cut, but I keep really trying.

    4. It really doesn’t matter what position you end up in, it will still be unacceptable even if you’re 2nd.

      The only team to have an acceptable position at the end of the season is the team winning the championship ! So what’s the point of telling the world that you think 9th is unacceptable – of course it isn’t, and nor is it for nine other teams on the grid. Just because you announce it in the Motoring Press doesn’t mean all the other teams aren’t digging deep to improve on the previous year – just pray that whatever your team does is better than someone else lower down the field.

      We the fans, already know that every team on the grid will be working like hell to be better next year, and words in the press will mean absolutely nothing to the Car or the Team, it’s what you say and do “in house” that will make the difference.

    5. AlphaTauri must raise their game, says Marko

      While it is true AlphaTauri must raise their game, every other F1 team is doing this too. Failure to raise your game amounts to failure in F1. The amazing thing is every year all the teams produce a car which they hope will outperform the previous year’s car, and often they get it right. The problem isn’t raising your game, the problem is raising your game more than your competitors.
      Downforce isn’t just a matter of increased pitch on the aerofoils. The rules for 2022 were changed to allow for ground effects, but they didn’t allow for the use of active suspension, which should have happened. So it wasn’t surprising some of the drivers had cars which continually bottomed out. I don’t know if the AlphaTauri had this problem, but, just as Motzart is supposed to have said, “which notes do you want me to remove” from a symphony he’d just written, so saying the car needs more downforce isn’t as simple as tweaking the pitch of a wing or lowering the ride height.
      When Dr Marko demands a performance increase better than Williams, Haas, and Alfa Romeo, that is different from if one of us says it because he was in a position at the start of last season to influence the team’s design for this year’s car, whereas we are not. We aren’t privy to the team’s accounts, nor are we privy to the team’s designers thoughts and inspirations, nor are we able to simply demand information from the team about some performance issue, but Dr Marko is.
      I do hope AlphaTauri do raise their game, but I also hope Haas, Williams, Alfa Romeo, and Aston Martin raise their game too.

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