A warning shot sent to underperforming AlphaTauri with changes hinted at

Jamie Woodhouse
Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri, makes a pit stop. F1 Brazil November 2022

AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda makes a pit stop. Brazil November 2022

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko is not happy with how sister team AlphaTauri performed in 2022, with the next steps now being considered.

2021 served as seemingly the perfect base for AlphaTauri to step up to new heights as they scored their highest points tally for a season with 142, in the same year that Red Bull returned to the title fight as Max Verstappen secured his first World Championship.

But while Red Bull maintained such heights in 2022 at the start of the new regulatory era, recording a comfortable title double, AlphaTauri slipped to P9 in the Constructors’ standings, finishing with just 35 points and ahead of only Williams.

And this could spell trouble for some of the AlphaTauri personnel.

Marko was asked by Auto Motor und Sport whether Red Bull would be impacted by the recent swarm of team boss changes in Formula 1? He said all was stable at Red Bull, but then shifted to AlphaTauri, where he believes change is needed.

“Everything remains calm for us,” said Marko. “There have been initial talks with our new boss [following the passing of Dietrich Mateschitz], Mr Mintzlaff, and there is agreement that it would not make sense to restructure a successful package like Red Bull Racing.

“Where there is a need is AlphaTauri. That was not satisfactory last year.”

Marko would be asked to expand on the areas where AlphaTauri are underperforming, which ended up being a rather lengthy list.

In general, he deemed a ninth-place finish as “not acceptable” considering the resources which AlphaTauri have, and so now it is a case of finalising what action needs to be taken.

“I would say they were beaten below value,” said Marko. “For their potential, technically and financially, ninth place is not acceptable.

“They made a lot of mistakes in the strategy. The car had too little downforce. At the moment, we are taking stock and looking at which screws need to be tightened.”

AlphaTauri must be midfield leaders in 2023

Marko is known for being stern and to the point, but that perhaps is something which AlphaTauri need after a very lacklustre showing in 2022.

Of course this is still a team which must create and run their operations independently, though their close technical ties to Red Bull Technologies meant that to see the main team thriving, and the sister team struggling, was rather surprising.

For 2023 the team appear set to be less reliant on the parts which they can buy in from Red Bull, and Pierre Gasly, who has now departed for Alpine, said AlphaTauri are going with a new concept for the AT04 and expect it to be the best they have ever made, a front-runner even.

Of course, such statements can often be heard around the Formula 1 paddock, but as AlphaTauri take that risk of a concept change, the result needs to be them becoming a leading midfield outfit at the very least.

If Marko and Red Bull do not decide to make sweeping changes before the new season, then a poor 2023 campaign will almost certainly spell trouble for the Faenza squad.

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