Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda‘s 2021 Formula 1 car, the AT02, has now been unveiled to the world alongside the team’s 2021 driver line-up of Pierre Gasly (who has been retained for the 2021 season) and Yuki Tsunoda (who replaces Daniil Kyvat).
2020 was a surprisingly great year for the team; Gasly took the first race win of his career during the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, whilst Kyvat did improve towards the end of the season after a somewhat rocky start. This is something that has made long-time Team Principal Franz Tost feel somewhat optimistic for the future of the team going into the now somewhat odd 2021 season.
“We had a reasonably good season in our first year as Scuderia AlphaTauri and we improved in many aspects,” said Tost. “The aerodynamic side has made good steps in the right direction but also the design office enhanced all procedures to smoothen the workflow and achieve targets better and quicker.
“On the operational side, we have again made a big step forward and had very fast pitstops, which helped us to achieve quite good results throughout the year. Thanks to all this work we could achieve the highlight of our season in Monza, with Pierre Gasly’s maiden victory.“
Tost was somewhat realistic, however, about how the more negative aspects of 2020 had gone for Red Bull‘s second Formula 1 team.
“I can’t forget that we retired four times, three of them due to reliability issues and once because of an accident Pierre was involved in, which means we missed four opportunities to score points. We definitely have to avoid finding ourselves in certain situations, so there is still some work to do ahead of us but the team is focussing on this to prepare in the best possible way for the new season.“
The new pairing of Gasly, who has a few seasons of Formula 1 under his belt already, and Tsunoda, who ended up becoming one of the most promising and impressive drivers in last year’s FIA Formula 2 season, is one that’s causing a lot of excitement in the Formula 1 world. That excitement is something that Tost definitely feels and it’s making him optimistic about the year to come.
“The decision to go for Pierre and Yuki in 2021 was taken because Scuderia AlphaTauri’s philosophy is still to give talented young drivers from the Red Bull Junior Program the opportunity to step up to F1 and to educate them,” Tost stated about AlphaTauri’s new lineup. “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.“
Tost has every reason to be confident in his new driver pairing. Gasly managed to pull out fantastically consistent results during the entirety of last year and could have done even better were it not for some bad luck with reliability, whilst Tsunoda’s F2 performances were so good he came third in the championship overall and earned the Anthoine Hubert Award for being the best Formula 2 rookie. With the cars being mostly unchanged between 2020 and 2021, there is every chance that Scuderia AlphaTauri could pull yet another surprise out of the bag!