Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri, Bahrain International Circuit, 2023 pre-season test

De Vries’ complaints after first AlphaTauri test were a “wake-up call” – Tost

2023 F1 season

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AlphaTauri were emboldened to pursue drastic changes to their new car for 2023 after new driver Nyck de Vries “complained a lot” about their previous chassis.

The team’s new driver for 2023 drove all four Mercedes-powered cars during the course of last season, giving him valuable insight into their rivals’ handling qualities. He then sampled AlphaTauri’s 2022 car during the post-season test at Yas Marina, which allowed him to help the team understand the car’s shortcomings.

“Always with a new driver coming, if it’s not a young driver coming from a lower series, he brings in some input, some technical ideas,” AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost said in response to a question from RaceFans during today’s test in Bahrain. “With Nyck, we were lucky that he last year was in contact with many teams and many cars.

“I think that our engineers get a good technical feedback from his side, especially after the Abu Dhabi test, where he did a lot of laps and he fortunately complained a lot about the car because this was a wake-up call for the engineers. And I hope that we can provide him with a car which performs in the way he likes it.”

AlphaTauri came away from the test with “a long to-do list”, said Tost. “I liked it.”

The team endured a disappointing 2022 campaign with an overweight car and fell to ninth in the championship. Tost said that, plus De Vries’, feedback helped him persuade the engineering team to change their approach with the new car.

“It was so funny because the engineers went into an argument that our solutions are good and I always said to them ‘look where we are in the constructors championship’.”

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De Vries is “doing a really good job” said Tost. “He is very experienced, you can see this, and you can see and feel that he is 28 years old and he won a lot of races and championships.

Alexander Albon, Williams, Bahrain International Circuit, 2023 pre-season test
Gallery: 2023 F1 pre-season testing day one in pictures
“I think that he will be able to adapt this with Formula 1 immediately, as I expect him to perform well from the first qualifying onwards.”

Tost believes the team should be able to move up at least three places in the championship. “It depends how good is the car,” he said.

“I think that our engineers did good work during the winter months, at least [from] what we can see in the data. But we have to prove this at the race track.

“Nevertheless, I expect that we will be realistically within the first six. Five is a little bit difficult, but I will not cry if this is the case. But within the first six, this is our target.”

“Last year we were not competitive,” he admitted. “Last year we were struggling, to say it.

“Our car was too heavy, we were not good enough on the aerodynamic side and made some other mistakes. And I hope that we can prevent this this year.

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“On the weight everything is fine, we are on the limit. And on the aerodynamic side we made good progress. The aerodynamic team in Bicester did a really good job.

“But we also must see how good our direct rivals will be and I think the first clear picture we will have after the first three races.”

Yuki Tsunoda is driving the team’s new car this morning (pictured) and De Vries will take over in the afternoon.

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Author information

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...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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4 comments on “De Vries’ complaints after first AlphaTauri test were a “wake-up call” – Tost”

  1. I’m sure Gasly will also feel somewhat vindicated if he hears about this, since he was surely complaining a lot too during the season.

    Good that Tost picks this up as an impulse to innovate and improve. I guess it provided him the arguments he needed to insist.

  2. Interesting and likely significant that N D Vries could bring the experience of having driven 4 different F1 cars last year.
    That kind of input is probably priceless.
    In Gasly’s defence, he doesn’t seem to have the technical background and did not have the experience of driving other cars.
    Maybe Red Bull should swap out drivers with A Tauri for an FP-1 session a couple of times a year, just to move some knowledge around and shake things up a bit. Would be interesting to see what T Wolff says about that. Lots I bet.

  3. Maybe Red Bull should swap out drivers with A Tauri for an FP-1 session a couple of times a year, just to move some knowledge around and shake things up a bit. Would be interesting to see what T Wolff says about that. Lots I bet.

    Never mind Toto, look elsewhere for the reaction. I would suggest the Verstappen teddy would achieve solar escape velocity.

  4. I like this. I like that it might actually has changed things for AT. Let’s hope for the better. Curious to hear Tsunoda’s opinion.

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