Helmut Marko reveals lofty AlphaTauri target under new-look management

Sam Cooper
AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda on track at the Australian Grand Prix. Melbourne, April 2023.

AlphaTauri's Yuki Tsunoda on track at the Australian Grand Prix. Melbourne, April 2023.

Helmut Marko said he wants AlphaTauri to be “one of the leading midfield teams” after a shake-up of its management structure.

While primarily serving as a proving ground for potential Red Bull drivers, there are expectations of a certain level of performance from AlphaTauri.

In the days of Toro Rosso, they were consistently around the P6-P8 mark and that form continued from 2020 onwards following the rebrand to AlphaTauri.

But it was in 2022 and following the sweeping regulation changes that their performances dropped off with Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda only managing P9 in the championship, ahead of only Williams.

Any hope it was a one-season blip already looks unlikely as they continue to struggle into 2022, Nyck de Vries and Tsunoda managing just two points after five races.

This form is almost the exact opposite of Red Bull who have gone from championship contenders to clear favourites and as such, a magnifying glass has been placed on the Italian team.

Reports that Red Bull were looking to sell were put to bed earlier this year but Marko has made it clear: an improvement is needed and quickly.

Current team boss Franz Tost will depart at the end of the season to be replaced by Ferrari’s Laurent Mekies and former F1 and FIA staff member Peter Bayer will join as CEO.

Marko said he wants AlphaTauri to become “one of the leading midfield teams.”

“Two new managing directors are coming, that is Peter Bayer and Laurent Mekies from Ferrari,” Marko told RTL. “We want to see AlphaTauri continuously as one of the leading midfield teams.

“For Mr. Mateschitz (the late Red Bull founder), it was always a very important part of the racing philosophy. Because a lot of young people came via AlphaTauri.”

Nyck de Vries’ future in serious doubt with three-race deadline given

While the future of AlphaTauri as a team is safe, the same cannot be said of Nyck de Vries who joined the constructor at the start of this season.

The 28-year-old impressed enough in a solitary Monza outing last year to convince Red Bull to hand him his first full-time seat in F1, freeing up Gasly to move to Alpine, but that decision already looks a poor one.

After five races, De Vries has more crashes than points and considering he is not a graduate of the Red Bull junior driver academy and is on a one-year deal, his future looks very perilous.

Marko said he has three races to prove himself but has already floated some potential names of replacements.