AlphaTauri tests were ‘better than expected’

Michelle Foster
Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, drives down the pit lane. Spain, February 2022.

Pierre Gasly drives down the pit lane in the AlphaTauri AT03 in Barcelona. Spain, February 2022.

Transitioning from a 50% wind tunnel to one of 60% while designing the new AT03, Franz Tost is happy to report “very good correlation” between that data and what they saw out on track in Spain.

Formula 1, like many sports around the world, has had a disjointed two years because of the pandemic.

With the 2020 Australian Grand Prix called off at the 11th hour, Formula 1 shut up shop for several months – not only out on track but also at the factories.

This meant AlphaTauri only resumed working in the wind tunnel at the start of 2021, which coincided with the team moving from a 50% to 60% scale tunnel.

“It was a little bit disjointed, as initially, the new regulations were going to be for 2021 so we’d started work a long time ago,” technical director Jody Egginton explained.

“Then obviously with the pandemic, it was regulated that we must stop wind tunnel development during 2020 and we re-started it again on 1st January 2021.

“However, this coincided with our transition to the 60% wind tunnel meaning we had to design and manufacture a 60% model of the 2022 car.”

That posed an additional challenge for the team as AlphaTauri were also working on the 2021 car to create a 60% model of that to work on in-season upgrades.

“At the same time,” he continued, “we were also preparing a 60% model of the 2021 car as the AT02 launch spec car had been developed at 50%, but we were moving to 60% for in-season development as it’s not permitted to run two wind tunnel facilities in parallel.

Pierre Gasly, George Russell and Charles Leclerc on track during the pre-season session at the Circuit de Catalunya. Barcelona February 2022.

“Obviously, this created a greater workload, but the decision to move to a 60% facility was a long-established strategical one, which needed to be delivered on-plan to help meet our medium-term objectives.

“I have to say that the guys did a good job of managing the extra workload and we are confident this decision will provide the expected benefits in the medium term.”

Despite having two projects on the go at the same time, AlphaTauri team boss Franz Tost told Autosprint that the first on-track test in Barcelona shows that the correlation is there.

AlphaTauri set the sixth fastest time in testing, eight-tenths down on Mercedes’ P1 time.

“The tests showed a better situation than expected,” said team principal Tost.

“For a better understand of how closely the data matched we did a lot of tests with the sensors mounted on the car. The engineers are analysing all the data collected, which represent the basis of the comparison with CFD and the wind tunnel.


“For now, the information collected tells us that we had very good correlation from the start. Now that we have a lot of data provided by the track, it will be easier to steer development.”