Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said AlphaTauri are considered their “customer team”, detailing what that means for their drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda.
After four seasons under the AlphaTauri name, Red Bull’s second team will undergo a further rebranding for F1 2024 to take on a new identity, while for the first time a new team principal is at the helm, Laurent Mekies having replaced the retired Franz Tost, while Peter Bayer has arrived as CEO.
In the past very much considered the Red Bull junior team, training young drivers with the goal of a promotion to the main team, the exact dynamic between the two Red Bull-owned teams has become increasingly difficult to pinpoint, with AlphaTauri having gone down an increasingly independent route, which Red Bull senior advisor Helmut Marko said ends for F1 2024.
AlphaTauri free to push as Red Bull “customer team”
Junior team? Their equal? What exactly is the purpose of Red Bull’s second team ahead of their rebrand? It would appear something in between, Horner revealing that they are considered the “customer team” of Red Bull, running drivers in Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda who would be considered of the level required for be considered for the main Red Bull outfit.
Asked on the Sky F1 podcast to confirm the purpose of the second Red Bull team, pointed out they have the multi-time grand prix winner Ricciardo and the now experienced Tsunoda as their line-up, Horner said: “They’re both Red Bull Racing drivers, so both there to be called upon should we need them.
“AlphaTauri is owned by the same shareholders as Red Bull Racing, but of course, the way that they operate is independent from Red Bull Racing, but they take benefit of the parts that are allowed to be transferred, like the gearbox and the suspension and so on, in the same way that Williams and Aston Martin have done so with with Mercedes or Haas with Ferrari.
“They’re based in Italy, but they have a new management coming in, Peter Bayer as CEO and Laurent Mekies as team principal and they’re both competitive guys, they both want to compete to move the team forward.
“And so it has a new drive behind it and essentially, they’re a customer of Red Bull Racing.”
The FIA recently responded to concerns from rival teams over the plans for Red Bull to strengthen the ties between their two teams for F1 2024, Marko having said AlphaTauri would need to rely on Red Bull in every way that the regulations allow.
Horner though argued that teams moving closer to Red Bull’s designs will be seen widely across the F1 2024 grid, not only in the case of AlphaTauri.
“They’re designing their own car, they’ve got their own ideas,” Horner affirmed.
“Whilst they use the same windtunnel and certain components, not all aerodynamic surfaces that, as per the regs, they have to conceive and develop themselves.
“I’m pretty sure that a lot of cars on the grid…I mean you look at the McLaren, you look at the Aston and you can see design influences from our car.
“And I’m sure that’s going to be up and down the grid next year.”
Both Ricciardo and Tsunoda will be looking to apply pressure on Sergio Perez for a Red Bull F1 2025 seat.