What does AlphaTauri's switch from 'junior' team to 'sister' team mean?

17-09-2020 18:07 | Updated: 17-09-2020 22:42
by GPblog.com
F1 News
What does AlphaTauri's switch from 'junior' team to 'sister' team mean?

Toro Rosso has been the junior team of Red Bull Racing for many years. Now that Toro Rosso has turned into AlphaTauri, with Honda playing a major role in both teams and the drivers being exchanged like never before, AlphaTauri seems more like a sister team than a daughter team of Red Bull. What does that mean?

Only a junior team for Red Bull 

The F1 website analyses the current dynamics between AlphaTauri and Red Bull Racing. Pierre Gasly recently took the second victory ever for the team and trumped top team Red Bull. Max Verstappen said afterwards: "That Red Bull of 2019 is not so bad yet." The cooperation between the two teams has been around for a long time, but seems to be changing a lot.

Toro Rosso was founded in 2006 by Dietrich Mateschitz after purchasing the Minardi F1 team. The goal was to create a junior team for Red Bull Racing. This junior team proved to be very effective. Among others Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen came out of this.

What has changed between AlphaTauri and Red Bull Racing?

A first important step in changing the dynamics between the two teams was the introduction of Honda at Toro Rosso. Toro Rosso acted as a test platform for Red Bull to also switch to the Japanese manufacturer. The tests were positive and Red Bull also started to install Honda power units. In addition, Toro Rosso was not subordinated to Red Bull by Honda.

In terms of chassis and aerodynamics, the teams also worked more closely together. Red Bull Advanced Technologies, for example, also started to supply the steering and braking system to the junior team. With the name change from Toro Rosso to AlphaTauri this year, the team also moved away from the connotation that they were a junior training team.

Thirdly, COVID-19 plays an important role in the changed dynamics. The adapted financial conditions of the sport in combination with the coronavirus outbreak call for more efficient and cheaper cooperation.

What is the future of Red Bull and Alpha?

Starting in 2018, the teams began  working together in a different way and AlphaTauri will have a more prominent role on the grid. In 2020, this began to take shape more and more firmly, but the teams are not yet ready. One step that still needs to be taken is the wind tunnel.

Alpha is allowed to use Red Bull's wind tunnel. Because stricter rules on testing aerodynamics will apply from 2021, there is more time left in Bedford to have Alpha tested in this simulator as well. For the former daughter team, this means that they will be able to gather more reliable off-track data.

The conclusion is that Alpha will make a lot of progress due to the improved cooperation between the two teams, but that it will not become a clone of Red Bull. Aerodynamics still need to be largely developed in-house and the appearance and chassis will differ. Because of the money they both save, they have financial resources left over to continue developing themselves and to add unique advantages to their chassis.

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