New midfield F1 team on the horizon due to surprise late-season gains

Michelle Foster
The pit exit chaos in qualifying at the Brazilian GP.

Max Verstappen has slated the FIA's new pit exit rule for qualifying.

Surging up into eighth place on the log, Daniel Ricciardo says AlphaTauri no longer have back-of-the-field mentality, they want to “step up” into the midfield next season.

Scoring just two points before Ricciardo arrived at the team at the Hungarian Grand Prix when the Aussie was called up to replace the ousted Nyck de Vries, AlphaTauri have scored 19 since.

Hailed by Red Bull team boss Christian Horner for bringing experience and direction to the team, AlphaTauri has also benefitted from two big upgrades introduced in Singapore and the United States Grand Prix.

‘AlphaTauri wanting to break away a little bit from that junior team’

The latter led to a season’s best for the team with Ricciardo qualifying fourth at the Mexican Grand Prix where he was just two-tenths off pole position before bringing his AT04 home in seventh place.

The boost in points has elevated the team from the bottom of the log to eighth in the Constructors’ Championship where they’re on 21 points, only seven behind Williams.

“I feel a shift in the team,” Ricciardo declared in Las Vegas, even if that particular race weekend did not showcase AlphaTauri’s recent improvements.

“And even though I just jumped in half season, I feel like they’re wanting to break away a little bit from that kind of junior team. I think they want to start showing themselves a little more.

“There’s definitely an element of, I don’t want to say, ‘Let’s take this thing seriously’, because obviously they do, but, ‘Yeah, let’s step up.’

“Obviously there’s quite a lot of new people coming next year. And I feel like there is like the last few weekends getting some points obviously from both of us, Yuki and myself, it was like what the team needed and give them some confidence and a bit of belief. So I’m expecting that to carry over next year and hopefully we’re fast.” recommends

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AlphaTauri are no longer a ‘back-of-the-field team’

Although still a long way off from Formula 1’s midfield teams, Alpine in P6 sitting on 120 points, Ricciardo believes AlphaTauri’s momentum and direction could see them close the gap next season.

“I don’t think we’re talking about a back-of-the-field team anymore,” he added. “I’m confident that we can push it forward.

“Even in the little time I’ve been here the direction that I’ve pushed in and what we were able to go for in Mexico, I think that’s also given the team a little bit of, ‘Alright, you know, we can kind of keep pursuing’.

“It’s fun, looking forward to it.”

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