Alpha Tauri, rejuvenated by a strategic shift and the arrival of Daniel Ricciardo, is now setting its sights higher in the 2023 constructors’ championship, aiming to overtake Williams for the seventh spot with only two races left in the season. This ambition marks a significant turnaround for the Red Bull-owned team, which earlier struggled with performance issues.
Williams, currently holding the more lucrative seventh position, has taken a different route this year. Their team boss, James Vowles, expressed a sense of contentment with their strategy, despite the risk of being caught in the dying laps by Alpha Tauri. “We stopped working on this year’s car many, many months ago,” Vowles stated. “It could mean we’re putting our seventh place at risk, but I’m still very comfortable with the decision we made.”
Alpha Tauri’s resurgence can be traced back to a pivotal decision to align more closely with its parent team, Red Bull. The team’s CEO, Peter Bayer, detailed this evolution to Auto Motor und Sport, saying, “The Singapore upgrade was the start. Since then, we have brought in further parts to optimize the package.” This strategic shift, speculated to be influenced by Red Bull, is part of a broader plan to maximize regulatory synergies by the next season.
Daniel Ricciardo, the Australian driver who joined Alpha Tauri replacing Nyck de Vries, has been instrumental in this turnaround. Bayer acknowledged Ricciardo’s significant contribution, explaining, “Daniel got extremely involved and helped the engineers. Since then, the drivers have expressed great satisfaction with the car during meetings.” He also noted the team’s improved performance, “We have the tyres well under control and we are no longer the slowest on the straights. In top speed, we are now in the middle of the field.”
The positive changes have had a ripple effect throughout the team, as Bayer observed. “The good results have given the team a jolt. Everyone can see that things are looking up. That the upgrades are working. That the drivers are becoming more confident. You see them attacking. And when the risk pays off and it works, it infects everyone in the factory.”
Franz Tost, the outgoing team boss, expressed confidence in Ricciardo’s potential for a strong comeback with Alpha Tauri. He pinpointed the key issue Ricciardo faced at McLaren: “What he lacked there was faith in the car, faith in the team,” as quoted by as-web.jp. “That’s why he wasn’t able to perform at the level he normally could.”