AlphaTauri released the first images of its new Formula One car, the AT02, during an online launch on Friday.
The Red Bull junior team, which was renamed after the drinks company’s fashion brand last year, released photos and renderings of the car following a photoshoot with drivers Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda at AlphaTauri’s showroom in Salzburg, Austria.
The AT02 features a new blue and white livery that has been tweaked from last year’s design.
Although the car looks similar to last year’s AT01 and uses the same chassis, technical director Jody Egginton said all the aerodynamic surfaces had changed as the team adapted to F1’s new downforce-cutting regulations for 2021.
“With the changes to the aero regulations targeting a reduction in downforce, we have been presented with a number of changes we have got to make to the floor, the diffuser and rear brake ducts and this has required a lot of work to reoptimise around these changes,” Egginton said.
“The work which has been undertaken to develop our car for 2021 goes far beyond compliance with regulation changes and has involved changes to nearly all aero surfaces and also development and repackaging large parts of the car, which are hidden, in order to achieve these changes.
“We have spent a lot of time working to recover the aero losses as a result of the regulation changes, while also focusing on increasing and improving the cars aerodynamic operating window. This activity will continue into the season, with the split of resource between the 2021 and 2022 projects reviewed and adjusted as required to maximise the potential of both projects.”
AlphaTauri finished seventh in last year’s constructors’ championship, but team principal Franz Tost believes it can improve on that position if it eradicates its mistakes.
“In 2020 Scuderia AlphaTauri was a midfield team, we were fighting successfully against the other teams like McLaren, Renault and Racing Point but our target for this year is to consistently be at the top of this midfield pack and to improve further,” Tost said. To achieve this, we have to avoid reliability issues and finish all races in the points.
“This can only happen if we do not make any mistakes, so we have to be 100% concentrated on our job, race after race, on and off the track, because our competitors are hard to fight.”
Japanese rookie Tsunoda replaces Daniil Kvyat at the team this year and will partner Gasly, who took a surprise victory at last year’s Italian Grand Prix for the team.
“The decision to go for Pierre and Yuki in 2021 was taken because Scuderia AlphaTauri’s philosophy is still to give talented young drivers from the Red Bull Junior Program the opportunity to step up to F1 and to educate them — this is why Yuki now gets his chance,” Tost added.
“With Pierre on Yuki’s side we have an experienced driver, who can help our Japanese rookie to develop faster, but at the same time we can aim for good results. I think this pair is the best possible scenario to achieve both our targets, and I’m also confident this will be a successful one.”
Ahead of his first season in F1, Tsunoda said: “I’ve been lucky enough to spend some time with Scuderia AlphaTauri ahead of the season, so I’m already developing strong relationships and learning a lot from them — including Pierre, who is an incredible talent. My main goal is to learn quickly and deliver results as soon as possible, and I’m really excited to get started.”
Gasly, who first drove for the team at the end of the 2017 season when it was called Toro Rosso, added: “I’m ready to take on the role of team leader. Yuki is a very quick driver, and he will help us move the team forward — we will work together to achieve that.
“I really believe last year was the team’s best in terms of the way it worked, the development, the performance and the way it managed the race weekends. I’m always hungry for more, and I’m sure we can achieve great things in 2021.”
AlphaTauri is the second team to launch its new car after McLaren held an online launch for the new MCL35M earlier this week.
Three days of pre-season testing gets underway in Bahrain on March 12 before the opening race at the same circuit on March 28.