Goodbye ‘junior team’: Alpha Tauri’s bold new era with ‘Racing Bulls’

Alpha Tauri is shaking up the Formula 1 scene with a bold move away from its long-standing image as Red Bull’s ‘junior team.’ The transformation is not just cosmetic; it’s a total rebranding, set to unfold in 2024, with a new name on the horizon: ‘Racing Bulls.’

The change at the top is just as dramatic. Franz Tost, a familiar face as the long-time team boss, has handed over the reins to Laurent Mekies. Mekies, coming in from a significant role at Ferrari, faced a lengthy wait before diving into his new position. He reflects on this period with a positive outlook, saying to Speed Week, “When I realised that I would have to wait months to take on my new role, I thought it would be so frustrating. But looking back, the break was good. I was able to pause, take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Now I’m in the great position of being able to switch from one racing family to another, which I’m grateful for.”

The team’s shift away from the ‘junior’ label is underscored by the return of 33-year-old Daniel Ricciardo behind the wheel. With this change, Alpha Tauri is poised to explore greater synergies with Red Bull Racing. Ricciardo himself is optimistic about the team’s prospects, stating, “I feel like this is not a junior team anymore. We have a lot of plans for next year, hopefully we can prove that on track and get more points.”

Peter Bayer, stepping in as the new CEO, echoes this sentiment: “We certainly will not be a B-team.” This commitment to stepping out of Red Bull Racing’s shadow is further reinforced by Christian Horner, the boss of Red Bull Racing. Horner outlines the practicalities of this partnership, explaining, “Alpha Tauri is owned by the same shareholders as Red Bull Racing, but is an independent team. They can use our parts as far as it’s allowed by the regulations – gearbox, suspension and so on. It’s the same as Williams getting them from Mercedes or Haas getting them from Ferrari.” He adds, “Peter Bayer and Laurent Mekies are competitive guys, they both want to compete and push the team forward as a customer team for Red Bull Racing.”

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