Formula 1

AlphaTauri’s Strategy for 2024: Overcoming Weaknesses for a Stronger Comeback in Formula 1

AlphaTauri, facing challenges with their car’s performance, is focusing on addressing the unintended consequences of their recent upgrades. The team’s efforts to improve slow corner speeds resulted in increased straight-line drag, an issue they aim to resolve for a successful 2024 season.

Key Takeaways:

  • AlphaTauri’s consistent floor upgrades enhanced their low-speed cornering, leading to a competitive edge by the end of the 2023 season. However, this improvement resulted in a significant increase in straight-line drag.
  • Yuki Tsunoda’s strategy in Abu Dhabi did not yield the desired results, leaving AlphaTauri three points behind Williams in the Constructors’ Championship. The team’s aggressive upgrade strategy, while beneficial in parts, highlighted their vulnerability in straight-line speed.
  • Jonathan Eddolls, AlphaTauri’s head of trackside engineering, acknowledges the need for a balance between aerodynamic efficiency and cornering load. The team is working on addressing these issues for the next season, after identifying the car’s weaknesses and initiating constant updates throughout the year.

The 2023 Formula 1 season witnessed a fascinating turn of events for AlphaTauri. As the season unfolded, the team implemented a series of floor upgrades, focusing primarily on enhancing their performance in slow-speed corners. This strategy was part of a broader plan to improve the overall competitiveness of their car, the AT04, which, according to McLaren team principal Andrea Stella, became the best in its class for low-speed cornering by the season’s end in Abu Dhabi.

This improvement was not without its downsides. The team’s focus on cornering speed inadvertently led to an increase in straight-line drag, a side effect that became increasingly evident as the season progressed. Speaking on this matter, Jonathan Eddolls explained, “Some of the focus has been on the slow-speed corners. It was a bit of a weakness… But we’ve got the downside, we’re one of the slowest cars on the straights.”

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was a critical moment for AlphaTauri, as it presented an opportunity to overtake Williams in the Constructors’ Championship. Yuki Tsunoda, starting from the sixth position, employed a one-stop strategy, which ultimately did not pay off, causing him to finish eighth. This result left AlphaTauri trailing Williams by three points in the final standings.

Despite the setback, the team remains optimistic about the future. Eddolls’ statement underlines their commitment to finding a balance between aerodynamic efficiency and cornering ability. “We make the time in the corners, but then we’re losing on the straights. I think we need to reintegrate, redress the balance of load in the corners and aerodynamic efficiency. But that’s being worked on for next year.”

The journey has been challenging for AlphaTauri, starting the season at a disadvantage. However, Eddolls commends the team’s efforts in identifying and addressing the car’s weaknesses, particularly in the latter half of the season. “We’ve been updating the car all year… It’s only from Singapore, since the second part of the season that really we’ve been seeing the fruits from that.”

As AlphaTauri gears up for the 2024 season, their focus is clear: to overcome the challenges of the past and strike a more effective balance in their car’s performance. With the lessons learned from 2023, the team is poised to make significant strides in the competitive world of Formula 1.

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