AlphaTauri not expecting clear picture on competitiveness until after Melbourne

Jamie Woodhouse
Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri, in action. Bahrain, February 2023.

Yuki Tsunoda in action at the wheel of the AlphaTauri AT04 in testing. Bahrain, February 2023.

AlphaTauri want to be within the top six teams at least, but team principal Franz Tost does not expect the season-opener in Bahrain to provide clear answers.

The AlphaTauri squad are looking to bounce back from what was an underwhelming 2022 campaign, with ambitions of leading the midfield in Formula 1’s new era turning to a P9 finish in the Constructors’, ahead of only Williams and with just 35 points scored.

Their 2023 challenger then, the AT04, has the task of pulling AlphaTauri back up towards the business end of the midfield.

And Tost, when speaking to media including PlanetF1.com at the Bahrain pre-season test, set the minimum target of being one of the top six teams, with close attention paid to P5.

“It depends on where is the car,” he said of the goal for 2023. “I think the direction, we did good work in the winter months, at least that we can see on the data.

“But we need to prove this at the race track, nevertheless I expect that we will be realistically within the first six, five is a little bit difficult, but I will not cry if this is the case.

“But within the first six, this is our target.”

Tost did not try to dispute that 2022 was a poor season for AlphaTauri, admitting that the AT03 was too heavy, while the team were not good enough on the aerodynamic side and made too many mistakes.

There is not long to wait though until the AT04 hits the track for the season-opening Bahrain GP looking to right those wrongs, but Tost does not believe we will find out if it can at that race.

Instead, he thinks only after Round 3 in Melbourne will a clearer picture start to emerge.

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“Last year we were not competitive, last year we were struggling,” said Tost.

“Last year our car was too heavy. We were not good enough on the aerodynamics side and made some other mistakes, and I hope that we can prevent this this year.

“From the weight, everything is fine, we are on the limit. And as I mentioned before, on the aerodynamic side we made good progress, the aerodynamic team did a really good job.

“But, we also must see how good our direct rivals will be, and I think the first clear picture we will have after the first three races. Bahrain is a little bit a special race, Saudi as well, and then we go to Melbourne, I think that afterwards we will have quite a good picture of how competitive we will be.”

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher