Alpha Tauri presented the design of its new F1 racer for 2023 in New York. A new sponsor ensures that the livery is loosened up a bit in the new season.
The USA is currently the fastest growing market for Formula 1. And so, after Red Bull, the sister team Alpha Tauri also decided to hold its big launch event in New York. The new look of the F1 racer for the 2023 season was ceremoniously unveiled on Saturday (February 11) as part of the "Fashion Week" in the Big Apple.
With Central Park as a backdrop, the race car was placed in front of a row of mannequins dressed in the new Fall/Winter collection from Red Bull's own fashion brand, Alpha Tauri. The great marketing effort was not carried out without reason: the Alpha Tauri clothes are to be sold on the American market for the first time this year.
Of course, Formula 1 fans are less interested in what the fashion designers have designed for the catwalk and more in what will be racing around the racetracks at the 23 races this season. As expected, the model on display was not the new car, but the previous year's car.
In addition, some computer graphics were also sent, which are supposed to show the AT04. However, these should be treated with caution because you never know exactly how closely they match the real car. Of particular interest here are the cooling inlets on the side boxes, which are reminiscent of the Ferrari design of the previous year.
On the top, the sidepods are apparently more contoured. The air is routed far inwards to the rear in a trough. A wide outlet can also be seen in the rear area, as also shown in the new Alfa Romeo. In addition, something seems to have happened with the airbox design. The inlet looks a bit thinner than before in the pictures. The rear axle seems to have switched from pullrod dampers to pushrods, as was the case with Red Bull last year.
Orlen brings color into play
The new paintwork that can be seen in the pictures is certainly closer to reality. In the first three years, in which Red Bull's B-Team was on the road under the name Alpha Tauri, only the colors white and dark blue were painted on the outer skin. That will change this season.
The new main sponsor Orlen, who was poached from competitor Alfa Romeo, brings a few unusual splashes of color to the AT04. The logo of the Polish mineral oil company will be prominently displayed on a red background in several places on the car. The new splashes of color are particularly noticeable on the halo protection bar, the front part of the underbody and the rear wing.
The nose is no longer blue on the top, but painted white.A lot of bare carbon can be seen on the wings and the lower part of the sidepod. The engineers obviously want to save weight here. Nevertheless, the Alpha Tauri AT04 still carries significantly more color than, for example, the Haas or the Alfa Romeo.
After a disappointing ninth place last season, there is only one direction for the Faenza-based team - forward. Red Bull sports director Helmut Marko found clear words at the end of the previous season that they were not satisfied with the performance shown. Anyone who now thinks that Alpha Tauri is using the technology of its big brother Red Bull to catch up is wrong.
The developers want to retain a certain independence, as chief engineer Jonathan Eddolls emphasises: "Unfortunately, when we take components from Red Bull, we always only get information about the final design very late. That can then have an impact on our aerodynamics, because we actually expected other forms."
According to Eddolls, Alpha Tauri will therefore buy fewer parts from Red Bull Technology for the AT04 than before. "After a year we have gained a lot of experience with the new cars. We know in which window it works. This means that we no longer have to be as flexible with certain components, which saves us weight. There are some things that we are doing differently now because we know how to deal with these cars, these tires and these regulations."
There are new things not only in design and technology, but also in the driver staff. Pierre Gasly has migrated to Alpine after six years in the Red Bull squad. The former Mercedes Junior Nyck de Vries was hired for this. The Dutchman comes with a lot of advance praise and is supposed to put a lot of pressure on Yuki Tsunoda. The Japanese must finally make the breakthrough in his third year with the team. Otherwise it could be his last season in the premier class.