Formula1: Current developments in the Alpha Tauri team

The reality in 2023 is quite different from how Marko saw it playing out; Tsunoda has been really impressive, nailing two 10th place finishes and finishing 11th in all of the remaining 3 races.

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Marko’s micromanagement vs Tost’s control

The extent of Dr. Helmut Marko’s influence across both Redbull teams is no surprise to anyone, but Franz Tost has insisted in the past that he wishes to have full control when it comes to managing and running the team. When it comes to recruitment however, Marko has always had the last say, and if a driver fails to impress him, the outlook becomes rather bleak for the said driver, whether the driver in question is Webber, Kvyat, Gasly, or Tsunoda. With Tsunoda however, Tost seemed adamant that he has latent talent, and that he’d handle it his own way, which is the only reason the young Japanese driver was given a second season alongside Gasly.

Expectations from Nyck de Vries

When Nyck de Vries impressed one and all with his super-sub performances last year, Marko lost no time in letting go of Gasly, who still had time remaining on his contract. It seemed like a true win-win scenario; Tost got to hold on to Tsunoda for another year, Gasly, who was now certain he’d never get another opportunity to race at Redbull would get a new drive at Alpine, and Marko got to snap up a promising de Vries, who he hoped would proceed to wipe the floor with Tsunoda, opening up another vacancy, either midseason in 2023, or for 2024.

Expectations vs reality

The reality in 2023 is quite different from how Marko saw it playing out; Tsunoda has been really impressive, nailing two 10th place finishes and finishing 11th in all of the remaining 3 races, while de Vries has only been able to manage two 14th place finishes, as his best performances.

Exit Tost

Redbull’s announcement that Tost won’t be returning in 2024 as Team Principal is another biggie; was this always planned, or did he finally decide he wouldn’t accept more meddling? Hard to say for sure.

New round of silly season?

With a triple header coming up in Europe before the summer break, word is that de Vries now has a deadline to shape up or ship out, but who could potentially replace him?
Daniel Ricciardo: the Aussie former Redbull star who was brought back as a reserve driver, to place pressure on Perez, among other things. A drive at AT is still more promising than a drive at Williams or Haas, for Daniel. Who knows what the future holds for him, should he manage to take control at AT?

Ayumu Iwasa: another temperamental Japanese driver from the junior program, and one who is showing signs of improvement in the F2 championship.

Liam Lawson: like Iwasa, another Redbull young driver program prospect, who finished 3rd overall in 2022, in the F2 championship.

Other factors

With Daniel Ricciardo, there’s no question of who takes on the role of the lead driver, and there’s a lot Tsunoda can learn under Daniel, but things might get tense or less productive if Tsunoda is combined with a second driver who is even less experienced. The driver options in the young driver program are by no means obvious choices for selection, so a period of stability and growth with a seasoned driver to guide Tsunoda might be a prudent call.

Here’s what BHPian 1LR-GUE had to say on the matter:

It has always been like this (pure chaos) in Alpha Tauri/Torro Rosso when it comes to their driver line up.

Contrary to popular opinion, I feel Red Bull academy drivers are lucky and have the best chance of surviving in F1 or outside F1 ( I respect Marko for this exactly).

Take current grid for example – Sainz, Gasly, Albon et al. are ex-redbull drivers and are doing decently well in other teams.

Other drivers like Buemi, Hartley are world champions in different racing series.

Red bull also have race winners like Webber and Perez who are not from their academy.

If you take Mclaren or Ferrari, their drivers don’t get a lot of chance ( Vandoorne, Schumacher).

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