Ricciardo‘s addition to the AlphaTauri race team isn’t merely a short-term expedient solution. It’s far from just giving the Australian pro-driver an avenue to recalibrate before potentially rejoining the central Red Bull team. This decisive move was preceded by an in-depth analysis, redrawing AlphaTauri‘s role within the Red Bull family, and an entrenched resolution from the upper echelons of the beverage company’s leadership against the sale of the team.
This new strategic shift amalgamates seamlessly with a transformation of the team’s image projected for the upcoming season, as the existent sponsorship contract with AlphaTauri concludes. AlphaTauri‘s latest CEO, Peter Bayer, in a conversation with F1 Initiative prior to the official announcement of Ricciardo replacing de Vries, outlined a rejuvenated approach banking on the fusion of youth and veteran experience.
Bayer elucidated, “It makes perfect sense to have that younger brother within the family, who’s taking care of young driver development,” and added, “That will stay, so the purpose will remain, for us to find young talent. We might extend that a bit, and go a bit more structured into these areas.” Open to various interpretations, Bayer contemplated the prospect of pairing an experienced racer with a fledgling driver for a dynamic union.
Alongside Bayer, the newly appointed team principal Laurent Mekies would helm the team after his release from Ferrari. Inheriting the mantle from Franz Tost, the duo stressed the urgency of the team’s continual scoring. AlphaTauri is presently languishing at the bottom of the constructor’s championship with a mere two points, courtesy of Yuki Tsunoda‘s dual 10th place finishes. Yet, seventh-place holder Williams is merely nine points ahead, with each increase in rank translating to substantial prize money.
Highlighting the enormity of the gap between F2 and F1, Bayern stated, “In all honesty, that’s exactly the discussion I had with the guys. I said it’s great to be training young drivers, but the gap between F2 and F1 simply is huge.” He identified the critical need for proper strategizing, conscious learning, and not just focusing solely on scoring points.
Team rebranding is a topic of ongoing discussions at AlphaTauri, with an inclination towards a name synonymous with both the team and title sponsor. Bayer confessed, “Today we are called Scuderia AlphaTauri. So we are called after a sponsor… we believe that we should come up with an identity that first of all allows us to be a unique and but still independent business unit.” Bayer also indicated the possible reversion to a title that denotes affinity to Red Bull as a brand, thus allowing the addition of a title sponsor.
However, the rebirth under the previously used Toro Rosso is off the table, as Bayer confirmed, “It’s got history, so yes, we could go back. But I think … we all want to move forward and come up with something new and fresh.”