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Start Monaco GP
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AlphaTauri

Can AlphaTauri become the 'new' Racing Point?

Racing Point worked closely with Mercedes to create a near identical car last year. Whilst this concept has now been banned, AlphaTauri have made steps with the help of Red Bull. RacingNews365.com takes a look.

AlphaTauri have caused some of the biggest upsets in Formula 1 but are yet to finish in the top five of the constructors' championship since they joined the sport in 2006.

Sebastian Vettel's famous win at Monza in 2008 was followed by Pierre Gasly's extraordinary victory at the same track 12 years later. The team also scored two podiums in their final season as Toro Rosso with Daniil Kvyat in the 2019 German Grand Prix and Gasly in Brazil.

They continue to surprise despite having to face the likes of Renault, McLaren and Ferrari who have bigger budgets and more racing experience. Jumping ahead of those three huge motorsport names would be a shock, but AlphaTauri have decided to follow a similar path to Racing Point's relationship with Mercedes in an attempt to do so.

Racing Point, now rebranded as Aston Martin, caused controversy last year when they designed a car that was almost a carbon-copy of the 2019 championship winning Mercedes.

Despite protests and anger from opposing teams, Racing Point's car was deemed legal. At some events they had the second quickest car, matching Red Bull for pace, but failed to make the most of it with mistakes from drivers and teams.

'Copycat' designs have been banned this year but AlphaTauri have made the most of facilities from Red Bull in an attempt to move up the grid.

“The use of Red Bull Technologies supplied gearbox, rear suspension and some front suspension components is now in its third year for us but for 2021 we have elected to continue with the same rear suspension and gearbox design as we used in 2020," said AlphaTauri technical director Jody Egginton.

"We’ve elected to use our two tokens for a new nose and also redesigned the outboard front suspension, as a result of this we have elected to update some Red Bull Technologies supplied steering components to 2020 specification, as permitted by the technical regulations."

Article continues below

AlphaTauri have also made a move to use Red Bull's wind tunnel. The Italian team finished seventh in last year's constructors' standings meaning they will receive 5 percent more time in the wind tunnel than the normal allotted amount.

But the move to partner Red Bull's facility is a major step for the team and it shows their desire to move forward and not standstill.

"We have recently transitioned our wind tunnel testing from our Bicester 50 percent wind tunnel facility to the Red Bull 60 percent wind tunnel facility, which is a further major project to deal with," added Egginton. "However, it was important to make the jump to a 60 percent model and the team working out of Bicester have managed this transition very well, so far limiting any disruption as much as possible.

"One key part of developing the 2021 car is deciding how best to split the permitted fixed amount of aero development across the 2021 and 2022 car projects.

"The rolling development approach we have taken in the past couple of years provides flexibility but you must also be efficient with your aero testing, therefore resource allocation across projects is going to be a big focus in 2021."

AlphaTauri will be one of the biggest benefactors of the new budget cap rules that were introduced at the start of this year. For 2021, the cap is €145 million for 21 races. Every additional round will add €1m more to spend.

The team have not exceeded this limit in previous seasons so the new financial regulations will make little difference to AlphaTauri whilst it could have a significant impact on Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull.

Article continues below

Red Bull's relationship with AlphaTauri has been strong for many years but the link between the two companies is set to grow even further when Red Bull take over the Honda power units at the end of 2021.

AlphaTauri will continue to use the Honda technology
from 2022 and it's a move that could benefit them in terms of stability within the team and on the car.

"It’s a huge commitment from Red Bull to make but it will allow both Scuderia AlphaTauri and Red Bull Racing to remain competitive by using a PU that we’re already very comfortable with," said Egginton. "As a customer team you often have to make compromises – such as to the chassis – that can inhibit the true performance of a car, so retaining the PU in-house through Red Bull Powertrains Limited allows us to maintain the best possible package.”

Breaking into the top five in the next few years will be a massive achievement for AlphaTauri. They so often have lacked the resources and driver quality to match their midfield rivals but the team is moving in a direction which gives them an opportunity to seriously challenge Renault, Aston Marin, McLaren and Ferrari.

Their driver pairing of race-winner Pierre Gasly and talented youngster Yuki Tsunoda is one of the most exciting line-ups on the current grid and everything is in place for the team to build on their 2020 campaign.

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