AlphaTauri is a team with a rich and eventful history. From the remnants of Minardi, the team began its Formula 1 adventure in 2006, then as Toro Rosso and with the support of Red Bull, but as the junior team.
Since then, the Faenza team has been used as a junior outfit, used to test drivers and power units for the senior team, with the likes of Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen making the grade at both Toro Rosso and Red Bull, with seven titles and 107 wins between them.
In 2021, the returned Pierre Gasly led the team to a strong season in the final year of the 2017-2021 rules, but since ground effects came in, the team has struggled.
It finished ninth in 2022 and was only one better in 2023 with eighth, but there were encouraging signs towards the end of the season just gone - as the team undergoes big change off-track.
An awful lot is changing, but what will stay the same? Well, apart from the drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda, not much.
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The team name
It has been known for some time that AlphaTauri is saying goodbye to its current name. What the team will be called is not yet known, but the fact is that the eponymous clothing brand will disappear.
At first, there was talk that Red Bull might want to sell the team, but that idea was quickly consigned to the rubbish bin, with an announcement expected before the season.
Incoming CEO Peter Bayer was already very excited about the announced changes in an exclusive interview with RacingNews365: "We have made great progress on the commercial side of things. We have a new name for the team, a new identity for the team has been developed," he said.
"The shareholders approved all the plans. In Thailand, we had a meeting where we agreed on the global strategy and all those similar issues. So we are all set. There will be a completely new set of partners. It is very exciting."
The team boss
Ever since the late Dietrich Mateschitz brought Minardi for the 2006 season, the man at the helm of Toro Rosso/AlphaTauri has been Franz Tost - the no-nonsense, straight-talking veteran.
He was at the helm for 18 seasons but Tost elected to step down at the end of 2023.
He is being replaced by Bayer as CEO and by ex-Ferrari sporting director Laurent Mekies as Team Principal.
The team wants to become a stable factor in the midfield and no longer focuses exclusively on developing young drivers. With Ricciardo, the team has an experienced Grand Prix winning driver, whose experience is already rubbing off on fourth-year Tsunoda.
Bayer explained how AlphaTauri plans to handle it.
"We definitely won't be a B-team anymore. But I think we are still trying to fulfil one of the other strategic missions, which is to run a junior development program," he says.
"We're just doing it in a slightly different way. We don't race two rookies anymore, but we always have one experienced driver who takes a young driver under his wing and helps him develop."
"The shareholders don't expect us to win the World Championship, that's not realistic, they do want us to fight for P5.
"Red Bull is going to fight for first place, but our goal is P5. That's already quite significant if you look at the competition. To reach that position, we have to be a worthy Formula 1 team. That's why we are investing in facilities."
Cooperation with Red Bull
AlphaTauri went more and more on its own in recent years, but also paid the price for it. The team now recognizes that Red Bull's help is very important, and will take as many transferable components (formerly known as non-listed parts) as is possible for the 2024 car.
Bayer was clear about the reason for that decision. "We are going to maximize cooperation with Red Bull and use all the parts within the regulations of the FIA. We didn't do that in 2023, and we consider that a mistake by the team.
'Therefore, we are definitely going to change that in 2024."