Aided by a more powerful Honda engine, AlphaTauri came out of the blocks strong at the opening of the Bahrain Grand Prix last month.
Pierre Gasly showed the car’s potential by qualifying fifth but failed to achieve a good result due to the deterioration of the front wing at the start.
Rookie Yuki Tsunoda impressed by producing a fiery display on his way from 13th to ninth, scoring two points in his F1 debut.
Team leader Franz Tost was happy with his team’s fast and reliable package, but warned it would take “two, [or] three races to get a better picture “of the situation in the close battle of the midfielder in F1.
By then, the Italian team will have rolled out progressive aerodynamic improvements race by race, which technical chief Jody Egginton says is the result of the team trying to recoup the downforce lost by the mandatory cuts to the ground.
“We already have developments going on,” Egginton said over the Bahrain weekend. “It’s aerodynamics.
“The floors have changed dramatically due to the change in regulations, the diffuser and the aerodynamic operation of the car in the rear.
“Everyone was trying to get the load back, we’ve got a reasonable part of the load back and now we’re trying to increase the operating window, to give the car an aerodynamically wider operating window to work on. Especially at low speed, and then the driver can exploit that and we’ll go faster. “
Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT02 and Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin AMR21
Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images
Egginton said the team is still undertaking data correlation and validation work, with the preseason test only taking place two weeks before the start of the season.
Given the three-week gap between Bahrain and the second race of 2021 at Imola, the team is confident they can start rolling out items that should be a substantial upgrade between now and the Grand Prix of Spain in May, the fourth round of the season.
“I think we have a good idea of what the car is and that lets you say, ‘Okay, what do you want to target? “Egginton explained.
“So it’s aeronautical development, it takes more of the performance of areas of the car that had been affected by the regulatory changes and makes sure the changes don’t bother anything else.
“We will have new songs in Imola, we will have new songs in Portugal. We will have new songs in Spain, so it’s incremental. There are no headlines, but in Spain we should do a good one. step forward. . “