Aerodynamics are not included in the token system, but the front nose and wing are due to the fact they are part of the crash structure. AT has decided therefore to use its tokens to upgrade the front end of the car.
McLaren was the first team to launch a 2021 car on Monday, the MCL35M. The team’s Technical Director James Key highlighted how much the downforce-reducing 2021 rule changes have prompted new design opportunities, saying “You’ll see a huge amount of development at the rear.”
This could well be the reason for AT’s technical direction. Chief designer Jody Egginton says it wants to stick with what it knows at the back of the car, as understanding that is critical in the development race. Taking on too many Red Bull parts in that area would take time to understand, disrupt other areas of the car and require the team to spend tokens where it doesn’t want to.
“We’re going to carry-over the  rear end,” he said.
“We thought about it long and hard. It’s very nice when you can go to the sweet shop and pick what you want, but the areas we want to develop are at the other end of the car.
“We are not uncomfortable with the basic package, so we are very focused on the areas we are going to develop.”
“We’ve done our due diligence and decided where we want to spend our resource. You can do a lot of work packaging a new rear end or you can put that resource onto the front of the car and do something there next.
“A wholesale upgrade is not always the right thing to do. You go to the sweet shop but you have to integrate all that to your package.”
Who are AlphaTauri’s 2021 drivers?
Pierre Gasly has been retained for 2021, and will be partnered by Yuki Tsunoda.
After enduring a miserable 2019 at Red Bull, during which he was demoted back to Toro Rosso, Gasly looked like a racer reborn in 2020.
He came into the season following a runner-up podium at the final race of 2019 in Brazil and then claimed an unlikely win at Monza last year after a safety car reshuffle and penalty for Lewis Hamilton left Gasly at the front of the pack.
His team-mate for next year will be young Japanese driver Tsunoda, who replaces the outgoing Daniil Kvyat.
There’s great excitement in both the Red Bull and Honda camps surrounding the F2 race- winner, with Red Bull driver development guru Dr Helmut Marko – not one to hand out compliments lightly – giving the 20-year-old high praise:
“He is characterised by an unbelievable basic speed and a very quick perception and learning phase,” he said.
“If you saw the last races, how he held back at the beginning of the races until the halfway stage, he saved his tyres and then attacked. That was a great mix between aggressiveness and driving with your head.”
AlphaTauri to use Red Bull wind tunnel in 2021
Previously AlphaTauri has been treated as a ‘B team’ to Red Bull, but a move has been made at management level to bring the two teams closer together in their operations and therefore performance, so they’re now seen as sister marques instead.
One tangible change that will make this a reality is the decision for AlphaTauri to now start using the Red Bull wind tunnel in Bedford as opposed to its own in Faenza. As well as potentially bringing the two closer together in lap times, it’ll help both to meet the new budget cap regulations.