AlphaTauri closing in on historic F1 achievement
Wednesday 10th November, 2021 - 12:09pm
AlphaTauri is on the brink of delivering the best constructors’ championship result in the Faenza-based Formula 1 team’s 37-year history.
Established as Minardi in 1985 before being sold to Red Bull in late 2005 as effectively its second team (long known as Scuderia Toro Rosso), AlphaTauri has had pace to burn this year.
French star Pierre Gasly has consistently qualified on the front three rows of the grid, while rookie team-mate Yuki Tsunoda has shown flashes of promise.
On the back of Gasly finishing fourth at the Mexico City Grand Prix, AlphaTauri drew level with fifth-placed Alpine on 106 points, although it remains technically sixth due to Esteban Ocon’s victory at Hungary being a tiebreaker.
Never before has the team, under any of its guises, secured a top five in the constructors’.
As Toro Rosso, it finished sixth in 2008 and 2019 – falling six points short of fifth-placed Renault (now Alpine) in the latter campaign.
With form on their side and an arguably happy hunting ground in Brazil hosting action this weekend, things are shaping up well for the Franz Tost-led team.
“My third fourth-place finish of the season and the team now equal fifth on points in the constructors’ championship,” said Gasly.
“Everyone is now very motivated about getting fifth in the constructors’ and the result last Sunday is a real motivation to keep pushing hard in Brazil, another track that I think can suit us.
“The last time we went to Brazil was in 2019 when I finished second.
“It was my very first F1 podium and a really big moment for me, especially given the way it happened with the sprint to the line with Lewis from the last corner.
“I am looking forward to reliving all those very nice memories and it’s going to be cool to go back there having been on the podium before.”
On Alpine’s side is a more evenly matched two-car effort.
It has on six occasions scored points with both of its cars versus two for AlphaTauri; 14 points separate Alpine team-mates Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon compared to a difference of 66 between Gasly and Tsunoda.
The Japanese youngster has at least appeared to make progress in qualifying of late.
“Even though I didn’t even finish the first lap of the Mexican GP, I feel my performance up until Sunday was one of my best of the season,” said Tsunoda.
“For the third race in a row I made it to Q3, I had good pace all weekend long and generally felt confident in the car.”
Minardi/Toro Rosso/AlphaTauri has recorded two grand prix victories in its history, both at the Italian Grand Prix (Sebastian Vettel in 2008, and Gasly last year).
In its final five years known as Minardi, the team was owned by Australian Paul Stoddart, during which period it launched the F1 careers of Alonso and Mark Webber.
The Sao Paulo Grand Prix represents the fourth-last event of the season, with only Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi to follow.