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After grappling with the ground effect cars in the 2022 regulations, AlphaTauri found themselves once again on the back foot at the start of the 2023 season. The season opener in Bahrain left the Team Principal unimpressed with the performance of their contender. The AT04 failed to meet the expectations set by the team. However, as Franz Tost prepares for his retirement at the end of the 2023 season after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, he shares the journey of AlphaTauri’s resurgence that has put the team in a position to fight for P7 in the constructor’s battle.

After Bahrain, Tost minced no words, expressing his disappointment. “We expected a much better car.” The lack of downforce generated by the AT04 severely impacted the drivability of the car. It affected both Yuki Tsunoda and Nyck de Vries. Tost’s trust in the engineering team eroded as the car struggled to find its rhythm on the track. A sentiment he vocalized when he revealed, “I’ve lost trust in them.

Franz Tost reveals what led to the sudden improvement of the AT04

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As the season progressed after the summer break, the narrative around the team started to change. In the final few races, notably starting in Mexico, the AT04 showcased remarkable improvements. Daniel Ricciardo, who had stepped in to replace Nyck de Vries mid-season, clinched an impressive P7 at the high-altitude circuit.

Approaching the season finale in Abu Dhabi, Franz Tost took the opportunity to shed light on the behind-the-scenes drama that fueled AlphaTauri’s revival. During the Team Representatives press conference on Friday, Tost was asked about to talk about why the recent upgrades have suddenly started working so well. “Because the wrong people were in the wrong place,” Tost explained. “We brought in new people. I realized last year, in March/April that from the aero side, we were not going in the right direction. We had the wrong philosophy. It’s always difficult to convince engineers to go in another direction because they will never adapt [to] this. Therefore, it’s better to bring other people in.”

“This is what we did. This is what I just explained before. But until these people can work, you wait a year. And this was the problem which we had. That they could start only in April this year although we recognized that we had problems last year already,” he added.

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“And the team still is not fully recruited. They’re still coming, some other aerodynamic people. And why I was pushing so much to bring the upgrades is to get an understanding [of] whether this new group goes in the right direction, on philosophy. Because otherwise also next year would have been a problem. And this is what I wanted to prevent under all circumstances. And the reason why everything came together in the second half of the year was simply because we didn’t have these new people beforehand,” Tost concluded.

READ MORE: Daniel Ricciardo Pens Heartwarming Handwritten Note to Retiring AlphaTauri Boss, Franz Tost

As the F1 season comes to a close in Abu Dhabi, AlphaTauri revealed significant upgrades to their car for a push to attack Williams for P7 in the constructor’s battle.

What are the major changes to the AT04 for Abu Dhabi GP?

The move to bring major updates in the season finale is not just for the sake of a research and development effort for the 2024 car. But it’s also as a last-ditch effort to secure a few extra tenths and potentially snatch P7 in the constructors’ championship.

According to the FIA’s tech document, AlphaTauri’s modifications focused on reworking the main floor body, edges, and fences to enhance local load generation in the forward floor. The introduction of a vane in the keel area above the T-tray, along with extensive modifications to the mid-floor and ‘canoe’ surfaces, shows the team’s commitment to maximizing local load.

Their efforts seemed to have paid off as Yuki Tsunoda was able to qualify in P6. Whereas the closest Williams of Alex Albon is far down in P14. This gives them a great chance to outscore Williams come race day on Sunday.

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Can Alpha Tauri close down the 7-point gap to Williams to claim P7 in the constructor standings? Share your predictions in the comments below.

Written by

Veerendra Vikram Singh

918Articles

One take at a time

I come from a family that lives and breathes football, but I never quite fit that mold. Ever since I was a kid, something about motorsport drew me in and helped me develop a lifelong love for racing. The sight of stock cars zipping past close to 200 miles an hour bumper to bumper just makes you appreciate the sport in a different way.
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Edited by

Akash Pandhare