Formula 1

AlphaTauri’s Big Regret: Missing Early Advantage by Not Adopting Red Bull’s Suspension in F1 2023

AlphaTauri CEO Peter Bayer expressed regret over the team’s initial decision not to use Red Bull’s RB19 rear suspension in their AT04 car for the 2023 F1 season. This choice, later reversed post-Singapore Grand Prix, impacted the team’s early performance.

Key Takeaways:

  • Missed Opportunity for Rear Stability: AlphaTauri’s choice to develop its own suspension instead of using Red Bull’s RB19 suspension for the AT04 car led to missed stability enhancements in the early 2023 season.
  • Mid-Season Turnaround with Suspension Swap and Driver Changes: The decision to switch to the RB19 suspension after Singapore, combined with floor upgrades and a settled driver lineup, including Daniel Ricciardo and Liam Lawson, significantly improved the team’s performance.
  • Late Season Success Despite Early Struggles: The changes helped AlphaTauri secure an eighth-place finish in the championship, a significant improvement after languishing at the bottom for much of the season.

The 2023 Formula 1 season was a rollercoaster for the AlphaTauri team, as CEO Peter Bayer’s recent reflections reveal. Early in the season, the team faced challenges, particularly in terms of car performance. Bayer admitted that not adopting Red Bull’s RB19 rear suspension for their AT04 car was a major oversight, affecting the car’s rear stability.

The Italian-based team had an uneventful start, struggling to advance in the standings. This period was marked by the departure of Nyck de Vries and the induction of Daniel Ricciardo, who faced temporary retirement due to injury. This upheaval led to rookie driver Liam Lawson stepping in. The team’s fortunes began to turn with the introduction of floor upgrades and the pivotal decision to switch to the RB19’s rear suspension post-Singapore Grand Prix. This move significantly enhanced the AT04’s tail section stability.

Despite early struggles, AlphaTauri showed marked improvement later in the championship, narrowly missing out on beating Williams for a higher position. Bayer’s introspection on the decision-making process sheds light on the challenges faced. He noted to, “The initial decision to go our own way with those critical parts simply was an error, and the people [who made the decision] back then are not with us anymore.”

The CEO further elaborated on the complexity of integrating new components into a car’s design, acknowledging the difficulty of making these parts work effectively. He highlighted the importance of understanding the overall car concept and praised technical director Jody Egginton’s team for their efforts in grasping the global concept of car stability in various conditions.

Bayer’s candid remarks, including a light-hearted admission of trying to outsmart Red Bull, reflect a learning curve for AlphaTauri in the 2023 season. The team’s ability to adapt and evolve throughout the season, despite initial setbacks, showcases their resilience and commitment to improvement in the competitive world of Formula 1.

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