The covers come off AlphaTauri’s 2021 challenger

Mark Scott
AlphaTauri AT02

AlphaTauri AT02

AlphaTauri have become the second Formula 1 team after McLaren to reveal their 2021 car ahead of the new season, called the AT02.

The Red Bull sister outfit underwent a big makeover prior to the 2020 campaign as the team changed their name from Toro Rosso to AlphaTauri in order to promote Red Bull’s very own clothing brand.

That meant it was more fashion show than car reveal at their 2020 presentation on Valentine’s Day, but still plenty of Formula 1 fans fell in love with the new dark blue and white livery when the covers eventually came off the AT01.

Those officially became race-winning colours after Pierre Gasly’s amazing win at the Italian Grand Prix in 2020 and so it perhaps came as no surprise to see AlphaTauri make minimal changes to their 2021 look.

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Showing off its tweaked livery – with a dark blue top half and white bottom, there is also new team dynamic with Gasly being cast as the clear leader following his 2020 exploits. Partnering him is an exciting prospect in the form of the Honda-backed Yuki Tsunoda.

The rookie, who will be the first Japanese driver on the Formula 1 grid since Kamui Kobayashi’s last race in 2014, is highly rated by Red Bull and arrives at AlphaTauri following a very strong Formula 2 campaign with Carlin, where he finished third overall.

AlphaTauri showcased their ability to be a bit of a nuisance to those other teams competing in the fierce midfield battle last year and will be hoping to disrupt the likes of McLaren, Aston Martin, Alpine and Ferrari again in 2021.

Like its rivals, AlphaTauri’s 2021 car closely resembles its predecessor given that this year’s regulations are stagnant barring a few minor tweaks meaning major mechanical parts have been carried over.

The car does feature a new nose and revised outboard front suspension.

AlphaTauri AT02
Pierre Gasly has admitted Yuki Tsunoda was “very impressive” in Formula 2 last season

Technical Director Jody Egginton explained: “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 Technology supplied steering components to 2020 specification, as permitted by the Technical Regulations.”

He added: “With the changes to the aero regulations targeting a reduction in downforce, we have been presented with a number of changes we have got to make to the floor, the diffuser and rear brake ducts and this has required a lot of work to re-optimise around these changes.

“The work which has been undertaken to develop our car for 2021 goes far beyond compliance with regulation changes and has involved changes to nearly all aero surfaces and also development and repackaging large parts of the car, which are hidden, in order to achieve these changes.

“We have spent a lot of time working to recover the aero losses as a result of the regulation changes, while also focusing on increasing and improving the cars aerodynamic operating window. This activity will continue into the season, with the split of resource between the 2021 and 2022 projects reviewed and adjusted as required to maximise the potential of both projects.”

He is hoping AlphaTauri have managed to claw back some of the lost downforce from the new rules and can maintain last year’s speed.

“How fast will our car be?” he said. “It’s not something I would want to put an exact number to just yet. Overall, taking everything into account, I would say we will probably see a performance level similar to that seen mid-2020.”

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