All eyes on New York City again as AlphaTauri launch the AT04

Sam Cooper
The AlphaTauri logo. Barcelona, Spain, February 2022.

The AlphaTauri logo. Barcelona, Spain, February 2022.

It is AlphaTauri’s turn to unveil their 2023 car as New York City once again plays host to Formula 1.

New York. Paris. London. Faenza.

Eight days on from Red Bull’s grand unveiling, it is sister team AlphaTauri’s turn. Like their counterparts in Milton Keynes, the Italian outfit have again chosen NYC as their venue of choice but unlike Red Bull, AlphaTauri’s reasoning is not for a partnership with an American car giant.

No, for AlphaTauri they prefer things a little more refined and what better week to show off a Formula 1 car designed to promote a clothing brand than New York Fashion Week?

While the fashionistas of the world gather to see the latest creations from Gucci, Prada and Louis Vuitton, there is a different type of design also on offer.

The AT04 will be publicly unveiled for the first time to the world at 5pm EST (10.30pm GMT) and although the bodywork of the car will be different come race day, it is the design of the livery that people are expecting to see.

With a new partner in tow, Polish oil refiner Orlen which was most recently found on the Alfa Romeo car, the AT04 is expected to break away, if only ever so slightly, from a traditional AlphaTauri design. In the build-up to the event, AlphaTauri have released snippets of what to expect including a wheel cover whose centre was dipped in red and the new race suits featuring the same colour on the arm and chest.

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While a common criticism aimed at Red Bull is a lack of design variation, the RB19 livery could pose as a stunt model for the RB18, their sister team have a little more room for creativity, apt considering they share the name with Red Bull’s clothing brand.

The colour combination of blue and white will feature but the new red of Orlen could break up the traditional look of this team heading into its fourth year of competition.

And it is a year of change for after the glitz and glamour of their New York show is over, the focus turns to the task at hand and the hope that two inexperienced drivers can guide them away from the P9 finish they suffered in 2022.

Out goes Pierre Gasly, the opportunity to join a works team proving too tempting, and in come super sub Nyck de Vries who at the age of 28 is preparing for his rookie season of a sport he has so often been in the background of.

AlphaTauri, and indeed Toro Rosso, before them have been on an upward trajectory pretty much since their creation. Points in their first two seasons, a win in the next. P9s became P8s became P7s and by their final season running as Toro Rosso the team managed P6 in the 2019 Constructors’ thanks to a podium from Gasly in Brazil.

After the rebrand, Gasly became only the second winner in the team’s history, Sebastian Vettel being the other, and AlphaTauri matched the 2019 effort with P6 in 2021.

With Yuki Tsunoda graduating from his rookie season and Gasly now one of the most experienced drivers on the grid, everything was set up for AlphaTauri to again challenge for the points in 2022 but the reverse happened.

While Red Bull enjoyed unprecedented success with the RB18, AlphaTauri found the AT03 a complex puzzle to solve and one they never fully got to grips with before deciding to abandon efforts and focus on the following year.

But while they have had a long run up to 2023, there is no guarantee their fortunes will be any better. In Tsunoda and De Vries, they have the least experienced driver partnership on the grid which, in a year when F1 returns to Las Vegas, represents a huge gamble.

Should the cards fall their way, AlphaTauri can write the 2022 season off as an outlier but should the river reveal itself to not be in their favour, the Italian outfit may be down on their luck once again.