AlphaTauri has become the second Formula 1 team to unveil its new car ahead of the 2021 season, having presented the AT02 on Friday morning.

The Faenza-based squad took the covers off its navy blue and white Honda-powered AT02 challenger in a digital launch ahead of the upcoming campaign, with the team aiming to improve upon its midfield position.

After a successful 2020 season in which it sealed seventh-place in the constructors’ championship with its best-ever tally of 107 points, and Pierre Gasly claimed a surprise victory at the Italian Grand Prix, AlphaTauri is confident about its prospects for the season ahead.

It has signed Yuki Tsunoda to partner Gasly for 2021 following an impressive rookie season in Formula 2. The 20-year-old, who will become the first Japanese F1 driver in seven years, claimed three victories as he finished third in the championship standings.

As well as taking part in the post-season Abu Dhabi test, Tsunoda has been carrying out an extensive test programme in older cars with AlphaTauri keen to give him as much valuable track time as possible ahead of his grand prix debut.

Tsunoda has had outings at Imola and Misano in recent months in a 2018-spec F1 car to get up to speed, with this year’s pre-season testing cut back to just three days of running - the equivalent of 1.5 days for each driver - as part of cost-saving measures implemented in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. 

On Monday, Red Bull announced that it will take over Honda’s engine technology after the Japanese manufacturer leaves F1 at the end of the year. The deal will see both Red Bull and AlphaTauri continue to run the power unit until the next generation of engines comes into play in 2025.

AlphaTauri is expected to carry out a filming day to shake down its new AT02 car next week at Imola, before it will get its first extended run-out at the start of pre-season testing in Bahrain next month between 12-14 March, ahead of the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix on 28 March.

 

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