Formula 1 – The AlphaTauri AT02 2021 will be the final car produced by the team that is officially Honda-powered, with AlphaTauri to be supplied by Red Bull Powertrains — using Honda’s technology — from next season.
AlphaTauri technical director Jody Egginton reveals the development changes the team has made to its 2021 F1 car – the AT02.
AlphaTauri has combined parts from last year’s Red Bull and used its permitted development tokens to overhaul the front-end of its 2021 Formula 1 car.
The Faenza-based outfit unveiled its AT02 challenger on Friday morning ahead of the new season, with its latest car looking remarkably similar to its predecessor the AT01 aside from a further splash of navy blue making a nice addition to its already smart livery design.
AlphaTauri, which benefits from its synergies project with Red Bull Technology during the production of its cars, decided against adopting Red Bull’s 2020 rear suspension and gearbox to instead take on steering components and elements of the RB16’s front-end.
With each team limited to using just two development tokens – introduced in a bid to limit development and keep spending to a minimum amid a carryover of parts to 2021 with major technical rule changes postponed to 2022 – AlphaTauri has decided to heavily focus its permitted work on the front of the AT02.
Technical director Jody Egginton said he believes the 2020 AT01 – which Pierre Gasly drove to victory at the Italian Grand Prix and helped the team to its best-ever points haul, finishing seventh in the constructors’ championship – was the “best car” AlphaTauri has ever produced.
Egginton explained why AlphaTauri chose to prioritise the design of a new, slimmer nose and front suspension elements instead of working on other areas of the car.
“We have elected to carry over the safety cell,” said Egginton. “We believe the chassis and power unit provides a good baseline, so we are happy to have spent our tokens elsewhere for 2021.
“The use of Red Bull Technologies-supplied gearbox, rear suspension, and some front suspension components is now in its third year for us but for 2021 we have elected to continue with the same rear suspension and gearbox design as we used in 2020.
“We’ve elected to use our two tokens for a new nose and also redesigned the outboard front suspension, as a result of this we have elected to update some Red Bull Technology supplied steering components to 2020 specification, as permitted by the technical regulations.”
The AT02 has also been adopted to the new floor regulations for 2021 which have been introduced to cut downforce levels by around 10 percent, forcing AlphaTauri to make changes to the floor, diffuser, and rear brake ducts.
“This has required a lot of work to reoptimise around these changes,” explained Egginton.
“The work which has been undertaken to develop our car for 2021 goes far beyond compliance with regulation changes and has involved changes to nearly all aero surfaces and also development and repackaging large parts of the car, which are hidden, in order to achieve these changes.
“We have spent a lot of time working to recover the aero losses as a result of the regulation changes, while also focusing on increasing and improving the cars aerodynamic operating window.
“This activity will continue into the season, with the split of resource between the 2021 and 2022 projects reviewed and adjusted as required to maximise the potential of both projects.”
While 2021 cars are anticipated to be slower than their predecessors, Egginton reckons F1 performance levels will not drop as significantly as first predicted.
“The headline aero numbers have been affected by the aero change, but we have been working really hard to recover the lost performance and also improve the aerodynamic operating window for the car,” he added.
“How fast will our car be? It’s not something I would want to put an exact number to just yet. Overall, taking everything into account, I would say we will probably see a performance level similar to that seen mid-2020.”
AlphaTauri’s latest F1 car will also be boosted by an upgraded power unit from Honda, which has fast-tracked engine development originally intended for 2022 after the Japanese manufacturer announced it will quit the sport at the end of the year. On Friday, Honda revealed it has hit its performance targets for the upcoming season with its all-new power unit.
“Effectively, Honda is giving us a new Power Unit for this year and have taken the opportunity to develop the packaging around it,” Egginton said. “Honda is very determined to push right to the end of 2021 and we are sure the power unit will continue to provide all that is required from it.”
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THE NEXT RACE 2021
|Bahrain ||26 Mar|
|14:30 - 15:30||Free practice 1|
|18:00 - 19:00||Free practice 2|
|15:00 - 16:00||Free practice 3|
|18:00 - 19:00||Qualifying|
|18:00 - 20:00||Race|
|Bahrain||57 laps||308.238 km|