Red Bull Motorsport Director Helmut Marko says that AlphaTauri’s performance must improve in 2023 to enable it to become more financially accommodating to the Red Bull group’s interests.
Two years ago the Faenza outfit managed to match its previous best finish of sixth in the Constructors’ Championship while surpassing its highest points tally in a season.
However, AlphaTauri struggled to develop its car through the latest technical regulations last season and regressed to ninth place.
Subsequently, the team was rewarded with the second least prize money of all the teams on the grid.
Following its disappointing campaign and the passing of Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz late last year, rumours emerged in the German media that the AlphaTauri team could be sold.
Although AlphaTauri Team Principal Franz Tost and Marko both dismissed the speculation, the acclaimed talent scout underlined that the Italian side must progress up the order this season to reduce the financial commitment it takes for Red Bull to maintain the team’s existence.
“It’s true that AlphaTauri’s ninth place in the constructors’ championship is not what we expect,” Marko revealed in an interview via Autosport.
“That means there has to be an improvement. It is also true that the financial commitment at AlphaTauri is too high, this means that we also have to do something on the sponsor side, on the revenue side.”
Despite discussing changes to reverse its fortunes, Marko has ruled out the possibility of AlphaTauri moving away from being an in-house constructor.
The Austrian advisor cited the role Red Bull’s perennial midfield running sister entity has in developing up-and-coming drivers for the reigning champions as a primary reason.
The Red Bull Junior Programme currently has six drivers competing in the Formula 2 championship and Liam Lawson entering the Super Formula series in Japan this year.
“In the course of this process we also discussed the possibilities, but it was always very clear that AlphaTauri would remain in-house,” he said. “That is an important part of our junior work.
“As mentioned, neither sporting performance nor financial performance meet Red Bull’s standards, so we have to do something to change that.”
The reports in the German media had further proposed that a complete relocation from its current Faenza base in Italy to England could be a possibility.
AlphaTauri already upholds an additional base in Bicester where its aero department and wind tunnel resides.
But Marko has seemingly ruled out the possibility of AlphaTauri relocating away from the Faenza factory the team has operated out of since the pre-Red Bull Minardi days.
“It’s obvious that we’re playing through various options, including England,” he issued. “AlphaTauri already has over 100 employees in England. It’s a split between Italy and England because it’s much easier to find employees in England.
“But the idea that the entire team will immediately move over there is also an overinterpretation.”
Following the saga that witnessed Alpine lose both Fernando Alonso and Oscar Piastri from its driver roster, the Anglo-French manufacturer recruited Pierre Gasly to partner Esteban Ocon.
It spelt an end to Gasly’s association with the Red Bull stable that has existed since his entry into Formula 1 in the latter stages of 2017.
Impressed by his stand-in performance for Williams at the 2022 Italian Grand Prix, Marko handpicked Nyck de Vries to fill the void left by Gasly.
With Yuki Tsunoda retaining his seat for a third consecutive season, AlphaTauri possesses the least experienced driver pairing on the 2023 grid.
Questioned on what a suitable result would be for the collective team this season, Marko claimed: “Anything between sixth and seventh is acceptable [in the Constructors’ standings]”.
AlphaTauri began the 2023 season as one of only three teams that failed to score points in the season-opening race in Bahrain: Tsunoda narrowly missed out on the points places in 11th while de Vries trundled home a lonely 14th on his full-time F1 debut.
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