Christian Horner believes that using Red Bull’s wind tunnel will help AlphaTauri to achieve their loftier ambitions.
AlphaTauri, who are also owned by Red Bull, have already doubled their total of race victories this season, with Pierre Gasly’s triumph at the Italian Grand Prix emulating Sebastian Vettel’s win in the same event 12 years earlier.
AlphaTauri currently use their own wind tunnel in Bicester and are the last F1 team still operating with a 50% scale model rather than the 60% specification used by all of their rivals.
More than 100 UK-based AlphaTauri staff currently work on the team’s aero programme.
Restrictions on wind tunnel usage that come into force next year – when teams will be switching their aero R&D programmes to the new 2022 regulations – will free up capacity in Red Bull’s tunnel in Bedford that will allow AlphaTauri to also use it, something which has now been confirmed.
Red Bull team principal Horner, quoted by Motorsport.com, said he now sees AlphaTauri as a “sister team rather than a junior team” and stressed the sharing of the tunnel is another step in that process.
“Obviously AlphaTauri is a rebranded team for this year,” said Horner. “I think their aspirations are beyond where Toro Rosso’s were.
“We have a synergy project within the regulations. For example, the sharing of the wind tunnel will happen for the first time next year, which makes complete sense from a financial perspective.
“The tools we are using, the model size, AlphaTauri will be utilising the same equipment, the same tunnel, and of course that will hopefully be helpful to them in their development, particularly with the 2022 car being such a significant change.
“The regulations are now clear, the grey zones have been taken out in terms of what is and what isn’t allowed and hopefully AlphaTauri will now benefit from that.”
AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost agreed with Horner’s assessment that AlphaTauri are no longer a junior team.
“I think the team has grown up in the last years,” said Tost. “We showed a better performance, the car is more reliable, the co-operation with Red Bull Technology is very positive, the synergy process brings us a lot of advantages, everything within the regulations.
“We are the brand ambassador to AlphaTauri and therefore we have to show a good performance, we have to be there, because otherwise it doesn’t make sense for AlphaTauri to be in F1.”