AlphaTauri have taken the wraps off their car for the 2021 Formula 1 season, the AT02, and outlined their targets to take on big-name midfield rivals.
Unveiled by drivers Pierre Gasly and new signing Yuki Tsunoda in a pre-recorded digital video, the car features changes to its nose and suspension while the livery has been slightly reworked from last season with blue now the predominant colour.
Entering the second year under the name of Red Bull’s fashion label, the former Toro Rosso team are aiming to build on a strong 2020 when they won a race for the first time in 12 years.
Although a seventh-place championship finish was actually one spot lower than 2019, the team scored more points from fewer races and won for just the second time in their history on home soil at Monza with Gasly in September.
They are now aiming to improve their consistency and finished ahead of a number of the sport’s bigger teams in a midfield battle that was fiercely competitive last year.
“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,” said team boss Franz Tost.
“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 per cent concentrated on our job, race after race, on and off the track, because our competitors are hard to fight.”
Gasly has rebuilt his reputation back at Red Bull’s junior team since an ill-fated brief stint at their main team in early 2019 and said he is “ready to take on the role of team leader” after the departure of the more experienced Daniil Kvyat.
The 25-year-old Frenchman is joined by 20-year-old Tsunoda from Japan, who impressed the Red Bull hierarchy with a race-winning single season of F2 when he finished third in the standings behind the more experienced Mick Schumacher and Callum Ilott.
AT02💙 @AlphaTauriF1 pic.twitter.com/ZwNwuAZVjH
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.”
Tsunoda is Japan’s first Grand Prix driver since Kamui Kobayashi in 2014 and the first to race in F1 born in the 21st century.
“I don’t think it’s worth putting too much emphasis on age – as Max Verstappen was 17 when he started – but I feel it’s an honour to be the first driver on the grid to be born in 2000,” he said.
More to follow…
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