AlphaTauri had a decent start of the season, although they definitely would prefer to be higher in the standings than they are. Plagued by reliability issues, Red Bull’s sister team finds themselves in the midfield battle. If not a MGU-K failure that meant DNF for Gasly in Bahrain, the French driver would score points in all three races so far.
Tsunoda, Gasly’s teammate, so far scored only in Bahrain (P8), while DNF’ing in Saudi Arabia (suspected drivetrain issues) and finishing in P15 in Australia. Although the foundation is there, both AlphaTauri and Red Bull need to work a lot to resolve their issues.
For Imola, AlphaTauri prepared their first upgrades of 2022: an update to the floor as well as the front brake ducts. In a recent interview, Gasly admitted that the team needs to bring more updates if they want to keep up with others. He was asked by therace.com if he’s excited to see the new updates, to which he responded: “Yeah big time, personally I’m very excited to see what it brings.
“Obviously [because there’s] a new car, a new regulation, we know this season is all about development. The teams that manage to develop the cars faster than others will have a better season.
“It’s a big test for us as a team. Hopefully it brings the performance that we expect.”
In that sense, Imola became a very strategic point for AlphaTauri. As explained by Jody Egginton, the technical director of AT: “We’ve sort of delayed a little bit the first update to race four just to make sure we were doing the right things and we were comfortable we were going the right way because there’s an awful lot of learning over these last couple of months.”
The upgrades to the floor are definitely the most substantial ones. If done right, there is a lot of performance that could be gained with the right set up, but the line between right or wrong is very thin: especially due to the porpoising that has been the centre of complains of many. As said by Egginton: “There’s a lot of performance in there, but there’s a lot of banana skins if you don’t get it right as well.”
With their current P8 in the championship standings, ahead of only Williams and Aston Martin, AlphaTauri definitely needs to go all out if they want to get closer to the higher positions and reach their own potential. Hopefully the new upgrades that will be run this weekend are a good step forward for the team.