De Vries says point-less AlphaTauri ‘scratching our heads’ over pace deficit as Tsunoda hints at ‘aggressive’ upgrades
AlphaTauri’s new recruit Nyck de Vries has said the team are working hard on improving their machinery after Team Principal Franz Tost said that he “did not trust” his engineers given the squad’s point-less start to 2023. Yuki Tsunoda echoed his team mate’s comments as he explained the team’s “aggressive” plan to improve.
De Vries has finished 14th in the opening races of 2023 while team mate Tsunoda has narrowly missed out on points with P11 in the opening two races. After Tost expressed his dissatisfaction at the team’s pace, the Dutch rookie maintained that the atmosphere in the Faenza-based team is “great” despite AlphaTauri being one of two teams to enter Australia without a point on the board.
“I honestly think the vibe within the team is great and I felt no difference post certain comments that have been made,” he said. “Things can be taken a little bit out of context and I think we were all sort of scratching our heads and we all want to be as quick as Red Bull that are currently winning and dominating, so we’re all kind of trying to improve and work hard to make that progress.
“We are racers and we are passionate about what we do, but I felt no change within the ambience and atmosphere within the team, so I’m very happy where I am and I’m sure that we’re very keen to continue to push forwards,” he said.
Tsunoda explained that AlphaTauri are lacking fundamental qualities to be able to take on their midfield rivals – but said there is an “aggressive” development path in the works.
“I think in general, grip I would say [is the problem]. It’s difficult, but to be honest we need more grip so more load, more downforce on the car. But at the same time, we have too much drag,” explained the Japanese driver. “So compared to Williams we are losing 12kph in straight-line speed; compared to Red Bull we have the same engine but are still losing 10kph, so that’s a lot.
“We’re definitely planning slightly more aggressive plans for upgrades for the car, so that’s good, that’s good news. We have to make each step, a couple of tenths, so we can catch up at the end of the season.
“For now, we just need to extract the performance from the car like we did the last two races and yeah hopefully we can score points this race,” said Tsunoda in Australia.