It has been a season of frustration so far for AlphaTauri as the team struggles to get the best out of the AT03 car and is languishing at the lower end of the Constructors’ Championship.
2022 was heralded as a momentous time in the history of Formula 1. The sweeping regulations were a reshuffling of the deck, sold as giving everyone a blank drawing board to work with and the chance to be fighting above their station. For AlphaTauri, it has been anything but.
Having finished sixth in the 2021 Constructors’ Championship, there was optimism that the Italian-based team would be able to fight with the likes of Alpine and McLaren for that converted, and financially-rewarding, P4 spot. But they find themselves in eighth, point-less in their last five races having previously not gone more than one grand prix outside of the points since their rebrand in 2020.
The AT03 is proving to be a tricky conundrum to solve. Considering it is similar in design to Red Bull’s RB18, the difference in performance between the two cars is staggering.
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Gasly’s form in particular is a cause for concern. Having rebuilt his reputation from Red Bull cast-off to potential future McLaren or Mercedes driver, the Frenchman has endured one of his most frustrating seasons. A P5 in Baku represents a rare foray into the upper reaches of the points and aside from that, he has to settle for scraps for P9 or worse.
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At the age of 26, Gasly will not want to stay at a team like AlphaTauri for much longer. He is contracted until the end of next year but having had a taste of life at the top, the Frenchman will no doubt want to return to the pinnacle or get as close to it as he realistically can.
The next step in Gasly’s future is one of the most talked about topics when it comes to F1. Since being dropped back down to the Red Bull junior team, Gasly has shown his talents as a driver and now rightly has bigger teams thinking about acquiring his services.
But this season is not exactly one to put at the top of his CV. With nine races left to go, there is still time to improve on his P13 placement in the drivers’ standings but his performances going into the summer break do not make for good reading.
His goal for the latter half of 2022 must be to rediscover that speed that earned him a podium in Baku last year and his first, and currently only, win in Monza in 2020.
Yuki Tsunoda’s matured performances have been one of few highlights for AlphaTauri
If team principal Franz Tost was forced to select a highlight for this season then he may well pick Yuki Tsunoda.
The Japanese’s arrival in Formula 1 was more famous for his expletive-laden outbursts over the team radio and one episode of Netflix’s Drive to Survive showed how difficult Tsunoda had found acclimatising into life in England (Milton Keynes does not come out of it well) but he has since moved to the team’s Faenza base and it has proven a wise decision.
Now in his second season, the 22-year-old looks more mature and aside from a crash immediately after leaving the pits in Montreal, it has largely been a campaign without incident.
For Tsunoda, he has half a season left on his contract which means he has nine races to show he is worthy of an extension.