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SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 5: Yuki Tsunoda of Japan driving the (22) Scuderia AlphaTauri AT04 leads Daniel Ricciardo of Australia driving the (3) Scuderia AlphaTauri AT04 during the F1 Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 5, 2023 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Why AlphaTauri dismissed identity of bringing rookies into F1

Throughout the years, the Italian team has had incredible talents driving for them before Red Bull, such as Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen

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AlphaTauri CEO Peter Bayer has revealed the Italian team can no longer introduce rookies to Formula 1 as it relaunches under a new name in 2024.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 28: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Scuderia AlphaTauri sits in the car during Formula 1 testing at Yas Marina Circuit on November 28, 2023 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Ricciardo joined AlphaTauri mid-season in 2023, replacing Nyck de Vries, and retaining his seat for 2024 (Image Credit: Kym Illman/Getty Images)

The Faenza team has retained Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda for 2024. Meanwhile, Liam Lawson, who raced in five races last year, remains on the sidelines.

AlphaTauri will be under a new name for 2024. Also, the team has major US-based sponsors coming in and a push from owner Red Bull, putting pressure to maximise results. This goes against the philosophy of the team acting as a stepping stone to Red Bull for rookie drivers.

The change also takes place after form boss Franz Tost left the team. The 68-year-old was passionate on taking new rookie drivers into the team. The Austrian was the boss at the Italian team, whilst drivers such as Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen were there.

With Tost leaving, it has handed the reigns to the pairing of CEO Bayer and new team principal Laurent Mekies.

AlphaTauri ‘must be competitive’

Bayer revealed that with all the new changes, there is a lot more pressure for the Faenza team to ‘be competitive’:

“The shareholders, when they were resharpening things, they also said, ‘we want you to be competitive’.”

The team’s CEO also revealed what Tost had said to him, which would make signing rookies a tough feature for the team now.

“Franz always says, and honestly in the meantime I agree 100%, that a young driver needs three years to be sort of ready for F1.

“With all the complexity the sport is currently requiring, and the amount of information they have to digest and process and then feed back to us, so that we again understand as a team what to do, how to change the settings and so on, and to be competitive, simply they need a lot of time.”

A great example for this is Tsunoda. The Japanese driver joined AlphaTauri in 2021 and struggled in his first season against former teammate Pierre Gasly. However, 2022 and 2023 saw gradual improvement, securing him a seat for 2024, which will be his fourth season in the sport.

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 05: Yuki Tsunoda of Japan driving the (22) Scuderia AlphaTauri AT04 leads Daniel Ricciardo of Australia driving the (3) Scuderia AlphaTauri AT04 on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 05, 2023 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Ricciardo and Tsunoda will drive for AlphaTauri in 2024 (Image Credit: Clive Mason – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
Massive improvement needed for 2024

Since the introduction of the new ground-effect regulations in 2022, the Italian team has struggled. The team found themselves at the lower end of the midfield for both 2022 and 2023.

AlphaTauri admitted that they made a mistake in 2023 – developing its own suspension, rather than using Red Bull’s.

The Faenza outfit eventually switched to red Bull’s design, seeing instant improvements, lifting them from the bottom of the constructors’ championship.

However, big improvements will still be required to impress its sponsors. Before the ground-effect cars, the team performed brilliantly in 2020 and 2021, finishing on over 100 points in 2020 and 2021.

Feature Image Credit: Vince Mignott/MB Media/Getty Images

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