Trouble for AlphaTauri? No ‘game-changer’ upgrade in the works

Michelle Foster
Nyck de Vries speaking to an engineer in the AlphaTauri garage. Bahrain February 2023

Nyck de Vries speaking to an engineer in the AlphaTauri garage. Bahrain February 2023

Nyck de Vries concedes there’ll be no “game-changer” in AlphaTauri’s 2023 upgrades, rather the team will focus on the “little details” as they try to avoid this year’s wooden spoon.

Point-less in the first two races of this season, AlphaTauri came in for some stick from Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko who declared their performances and finances were not up to scratch.

With the Austrian making it clear only P7 or higher would do, AlphaTauri team boss Franz Tost had a go at his engineers saying: “The engineers tell me we make some good progress but I don’t trust them anymore, I just want to see the lap time because this is the only thing that counts.”

There was a bit more lap time at round three, the Australian Grand Prix, where Yuki Tsunoda scored the team’s first point of the season with his P10 finish.

That weekend AlphaTauri introduced a new floor for the AT04, one that De Vries feels is a step in the right direction.

“I think it definitely helped us a little bit,” he said, “being a little bit more competitive. It’s so tight in the midfield, a little difference, it can swing so quickly.

“So it definitely helped. And that’s encouraging. But we will need to continue to push the team to get close to the top 10.”

However, the Dutchman admits there’s no silver bullet or miracle upgrade coming any time soon.

“I think that all the little things we are constantly bringing,” he added, “it’s not like there is a game-changer, you’re not going from P15 to P8 – all the little details are making a difference.

“And constantly you’re searching and finding more, and then you find yourself hopefully close to the top 10.

“Obviously we are closely working together. We are a team, working together and addressing and highlighting potential areas we can improve, and I think it’s clear where we need to find performance.

“But equally it’s a moving target, and it’s all relative to competition, so it’s also never good enough.” recommends

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As for his Tost’s criticism of his engineers, De Vries says that has not damaged morale within the team.

“I honestly think the vibe within the team is great and I felt no difference post certain comments that have been made,” he said as per F1i.

“I think things can be taken a little bit out of context and I think we were all kind of scratching our heads and we all want to be as quick as Red Bull that is currently winning and dominating.

“So we’re all trying to improve and work hard to make that progress and so are we and we are racers and we are passionate about what we do.

“But I felt no change within the ambience and atmosphere within the team. So I’m very happy where I am and I’m sure that we’re all very keen to continue to push forward.”

De Vries has yet to score a point in his debut campaign, the 28-year-old recording back-to-back P14s before his Melbourne DNF.