AlphaTauri drivers encouraged by new floor in last-gasp bid for seventh

Formula 1

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AlphaTauri drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda were encouraged by the performance of a new floor their team introduced for the final round of the season.

The team which sits in eighth in the constructors’ championship are pushing until the last possible round in their efforts to try and snatch seventh from rivals Williams.

AlphaTauri need their best result of the season so far to stand a chance of overhauling Williams. They must score at least seven points more than theirrivals during Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which will likely require the team to either finish at least sixth with either Ricciardo or Tsunoda, or have both drivers finish in the top eight with Williams failing not scoring.

As part of their efforts to fight for seventh in this last round, AlphaTauri have introduced a new floor to their AT04. They are one of only three teams to bring any upgrades to the season finale.

AlphaTauri are seeking a step in performance from their new floor
AlphaTauri have focused all their attention on the car’s floor – a crucial element of car performance under the revised regulations introduced last year. Detail on the design submitted by the team to the FIA outline that the floor body, fences and edge have all been modified on both cars.

The team say the mid-floor and ‘canoe’ surfaces around the plank have been “extensively” modified to help generate more load, along with the floor edge wing, while the fences are designed to improve the quality of airflow into these edges.

The initial signs appeared to be positive in Friday’s practice sessions. AlphaTauri was the only team with the privilege of running both their race drivers in both sessions on Friday, with Ricciardo third-fastest in the opening session. He and team mate Tsunoda finished the disrupted second session in 12th and 15th respectively.

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“It was positive,” was Ricciardo’s assessment after practice. “I’m not too concerned with 12th – I think we are better than that.

“I think we found definitely some positives from the car. So it’s just now trying to fine-tune it. It’s kind of shifted a few things around, so just trying to put it all together.”

Team mate Tsunoda described his early impressions of the team’s floor upgrades as “good”, but admitted he has some handling inconsistencies.

“It seems definitely our performance is going a step forward, but at the same time, slightly more difficult to handle it,” he said. “So just different behaviour, I feel. We just have to put it all together as a balance. But I think it’s a positive day.”

Isack Hadjar, Red Bull, Yas Marina, 2023
Gallery: 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix practice in pictures
Asked whether he would prefer more understeer or oversteer, Tsunoda said: “whatever the car is faster, I’ll take it any way.”

Team principal Franz Tost, who is stepping down following this weekend’s race after 18 seasons leading Red Bull’s junior F1 team, says the performance of the car’s floor was the one thing he was looking forward to more from his final weekend.

“I hope that the floor works,” he said. “That’s the only thing that’s interesting for me, the floor and the diffuser.

“I hope that we perform well, because another target is to finish on the seventh position in the constructors’ championship and that’s the only thing that’s interesting.”

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...
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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6 comments on “AlphaTauri drivers encouraged by new floor in last-gasp bid for seventh”

  1. … and next year’s car will be a complete RB19.
    Down with this sort of thing.

    1. AT can’t use any more parts from RB than others can, say Haas or AR from Ferrari. And aero especially is fully excluded.

      1. I think everyone can see what’s happening here. “Racing Bulls” as dreadful as the name is will be fighting for podiums next year and it won’t be down to their work alone.

      2. Charlie Racing, we know from Jody Egginton, the technical director of Alpha Tauri, that their 2024 car is likely to be using more components built for the RB19. Meanwhile, the CEO of Alpha Tauri has said that the team will “get everything that is permitted by the regulations from Red Bull Racing, and [we] will of course also come closer to Red Bull in terms of car design”, whilst Tost wanted Alpha Tauri to engage in greater technical collaboration with Red Bull.

        What has raised more concerns about the potential for knowledge transfer was Alpha Tauri announcing that they are transferring more development work to Red Bull Technologies and to the Red Bull campus in Milton Keynes for 2024.
        It’s created a question over how effective the separation between the two teams will be and whether there could be staff migrating more easily from one team to the other and transferring knowledge, even if the original design documents remain the property of their respective teams.

    2. @bullfrog Of course not because so-called customer cars have been banned since the late-noughties.

  2. However they do it, I think it’s clear RBR is going to ensure next year’s Toro Rosso will be at least Alpine level competitive.

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