Pressure mounts on Alpha Tauri: Will Red Bull be forced to sell?

Alpha Tauri, Red Bull Racing’s sister team in Formula 1, is drawing increased scrutiny from rival teams as it showcases rapid development and closer ties with its parent team. The 2023 season saw Alpha Tauri making significant strides, a trend that hasn’t gone unnoticed in the F1 paddock.

Auto Motor und Sport correspondent Michael Schmidt highlighted Alpha Tauri’s aggressive development pace, noting, “At 18 of the 22 grands prix, Alpha Tauri showed up with new parts, eight times to such an extent that one could almost have spoken of a B, C or D version.” This level of progress, particularly in a sport where marginal gains are crucial, has set the paddock abuzz.

The concern among competitors isn’t just about the frequency of updates within a budget cap but also the nature of Alpha Tauri’s collaboration with Red Bull Racing. By the end of the season, Alpha Tauri had adopted the rear suspension of the championship-winning RB19, a move that has drawn attention for its potential implications. McLaren boss Andrea Stella observed, “No one can do the slow corners better than them now.”

Dr. Helmut Marko of Red Bull noted a shift in the dynamics between the two teams, with Alpha Tauri engineers set to have their own building at Red Bull’s Milton Keynes campus. This closer integration marks a departure from previous years when Toro Rosso, now Alpha Tauri, maintained more independence.

However, the FIA’s Nikolas Tombazis assured that the governing body closely monitors team collaborations. “We visit each team every two to three weeks,” he said, indicating regulatory oversight on such relationships.

The increasing influence of Red Bull’s Christian Horner is also a topic of discussion. Horner has been instrumental in key decisions, including Daniel Ricciardo’s F1 return, Laurent Mekies’ appointment as Alpha Tauri boss, and securing Visa as a major sponsor for the junior team.

An unnamed Red Bull official voiced a potential outcome of Alpha Tauri’s success: “If Alpha Tauri competes for fifth place next year, there will certainly be calls for us to sell the team.”

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