Until the most recent triple header, it was a season to forget for AlphaTauri. Only a handful of points were scored in the first 17 Grands Prix, but three race weekends later, the points total stands at 21 for Red Bull's sister team.
In the United States, Yuki Tsunoda drove to eighth place, while in Mexico Daniel Ricciardo crossed the finish line seventh. The Australian was a bit unlucky after a red flag, as otherwise there might have been even more points on the board. Tsunoda also threw away points at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez when he collided with Oscar Piastri.
Last weekend in Brazil, things once again went well for AlphaTauri with points in the sprint and main race for Tsunoda. Ricciardo started the race in a hopeless position, as at the restart he had to continue the race a lap behind after his car had to be repaired by a flying tyre from a lap one crash. However, his pace had obviously been good enough for points.
It ensured that AlphaTauri moved up from last to eighth in the Constructors' standings. Two more similar races, and seventh place is in the offing for Franz Tost's team.
So what has happened in recent weeks? Why is AlphaTauri suddenly succeeding now? According to new AlphaTauri CEO Peter Bayer, it all started in Singapore. It was there that the team arrived with major updates, to almost every aspect of the car. The floor, diffuser, side pod and rear suspension were addressed.
“The Singapore upgrade was the starting signal. Since then, we have brought more parts to optimize the package," he told Auto Motor und Sport.
Furthermore, Ricciardo has provided a boost, mainly because of his technical insights as a driver.
"In terms of set-up, we have made great progress,” Bayer continued. “Daniel was extremely involved and helped the engineers and since then the drivers have been very satisfied with the car at the meetings. We now have the tyres well under control and we are no longer the slowest on the straights. In terms of top speed, we are now in midfield.
"The good results gave the team a boost. Everyone can see that things are going better now and that the upgrades are working. This also gives the drivers more self-confidence and can choose the attack. That risk often pays off and if it turns out well, it also encourages everyone in the factory.”
Tsunoda is delighted
After the Brazilian GP dissatisfaction was evident with Ricciardo mainly because of the F1 regulations, but on Yuki Tsunoda's face there was a nice smile.
“I think we're a dark horse, especially with the other competitors,” he told media including RacingNews365.com.
“So far we scored points for three races in a row, we have very good rhythm. Now it's just keep doing it like this, we're closer to P7 in the championship. I think it's possible.”