Alpha Tauri is an interesting team. For many years, it was the proving ground for possible Red Bull drivers, being owned by Red Bull of course, and it was of course previously the Toro Rosso team. But things are different now. It is very much the sister team, not junior team, emphasized by the long tenure that Pierre Gasly has had at the team since 2018, bar his half-season at Red Bull in 2019 before he was replaced by Albon.

It is clearly still a proving ground for young talent, with Yuki Tsunoda in the other car alongside Gasly. But after winning the 2020 Italian Grand Prix and taking podiums in Brazil in 2019 and Baku last year, Alpha Tauri is clearly aiming higher for 2022 and beyond. Its new AT03 looks like a well-balanced and sorted out car, and both Gasly and Tsunoda look happy with how the car is behind. The latter also looks much more at home in F1 after a tough rookie season. If all the stars align this year, then Alpha Tauri may well be able to cause a few surprises.

A Strong Run In Recent Years

Pierre Gasly 2020 Italian Grand Prix Podium
via Alpha Tauri

The strong run the team has enjoyed started in the latter half of 2019, when Gasly returned after his demotion from Red Bull. The highlight was the podium in Brazil, but it was 2020 where things really took off. The AT01 was a solid car and Gasly was a star of the 2020 season with results such as P7 in Britain. Then came the stunning win in Monza, slightly fortuitous after a penalty for Lewis Hamilton, but he absorbed immense pressure from the faster McLaren of Carlos Sainz to win that Grand Prix by less than a second.

Pierre Gasly Baku 2021
via Motorsport Magazine

It is arguable that Gasly’s 2021 season was better than his 2020. A fine third place in Baku came after he qualified fourth, and he took other strong results such as fourth in the Netherlands and Mexico plus sixth in Turkey. Tsunoda’s rookie season however was very, very tough, with a lot of prangs in qualifying and plenty of mistakes in the races, but a fourth place in the finale in Abu Dhabi, after a bold move on Valtteri Bottas, will have been a nice confidence booster for the Honda protégé. The likable Japanese driver should be in for a better 2022, which will help the team going forward.

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A Strong Driver Pairing Is Vital

Pierre Gasly Inside Garage In Barcelona Test 2022
via Red Bull Content Pool

A strong driver pairing will be vital for Alpha Tauri in 2022. While Gasly absolutely pulled his weight in 2021 and showed why he is one of the best drivers in F1 right now, the same can’t be said of Tsunoda. Costly crashes in Imola, Baku and France qualifying hurt his races on Sunday, and he made too many mistakes in races to be able to pull his team up the order. Had he found his feet earlier in the year, than Alpha Tauri may have finished in fifth in the constructors standings, although a solid sixth place is still a good result for the sister Red Bull team.

Yuki Tsunoda Barcelona Test 2022
via Red Bull Content Pool

There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Gasly will be on his usual form in 2022. The car would have to be nowhere near his liking for anything else to happen. The big question is if Tsunoda can be as strong as he was in the 2021 season finale in Abu Dhabi. Should he do so, and the AT03 be as good a car as it is currently looking, then both drivers should be in a good place for the year ahead. But of course, we will have to wait and see, although we already have a few clues as to how 2022 will go for the team.

A Solid Start In Barcelona

Pierre Gasly Barcelona Test 2022
via Red Bull Content Pool

Barcelona looked to provide a good foundation for Alpha Tauri. Both Gasly and Tsunoda looked very happy with the car, and the team as a whole seemed happy with it and didn’t seem too effected by the weird porpoising phenomenon that is plaguing almost the entire grid at the moment. That alone is a good sign, and the car looked stable and consistent at Barcelona, and the same can be said following test running in Bahrain as well. So far, then, so good for Alpha Tauri. But the proof of this will be on Saturday of the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend.

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Hoping For Big Things In 2022

Pierre Gasly Bahrain Test Day One 2022
via Red Bull Content Pool

While it is unlikely they will be championship contenders, Alpha Tauri would love nothing more than to step out of the big team's shadow occasionally. They aren’t restricted in any way by Red Bull, and if the AT03 was a faster car than the RB18, then that would just be the way the year would go. It is unlikely, of course, but not impossible. They of course have Honda power again, this time Red Bull badged, like the main Red Bull team. A strong Alpha Tauri though, might well spice up the fight for third place in the championship.

Sources: Red Bull Content Pool, Alpha Tauri, Motorsport Magazine

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