Alpha Tauri's AT01 : How Similar Is It to Red Bull's 2019 car?
We all know about the Tracing Point Saga, but they're not the only team who have a similar car to a top team
Yes, the AT01 is now a winning car.
Have we gotten over it yet?
The answer : probably not!
This is the only the second winning machine from the little Faenza team - after the STR3 from Vettel's infamous 2008 win (which actually had the same chassis as that year's Red Bull, and was faster, something a lot of people don't know) - but how does it stack up against the team from Milton Keynes?
While the chassis design is Alpha Tauri's own, it's designed around Red Bull's technology, with much of the rear end coming from last year's RB15. This includes the gearbox, rear suspension and the associated hydraulics and electronics. Not to mention Alpha Tauri are supplied with the same Honda engine Red Bull are given.
- From the above you can sort of pick out the similarities, especially the side-pod area, but also the differences -
The components inboard of the front suspensions - the heave springs, linkages and dampers - plus the wheel uprights are all again from last year's Red Bull. The external wishbones, pull rods etc are all original however,
As you can probably tell, lots of the internal intricacies are transferred from one team to the other, but the stuff you see on the outside is all of Alpha Tauri's own creation. Comparing both wishbones highlights how much more intricate Red Bull's iteration is, they're more contoured to further control the flow and maximise aerodynamic efficiency.
A bit like Mercedes' winglets vs say, Renault's versions.
Alpha Tauri's are simple and straight - a similar contrast in detail can be found in the bargeboards - Red Bull's visibly more worked.
There's also a distinct difference between the front wing philosophies of both vehicles. Red Bull have an outboard loaded wing, like Mercedes, in which the side nearest the endplate is raised higher than area nearer the nose (and the Y250 vortex). Alpha Tauri have opted for the inboard loaded wing, like Ferrari's, which is the opposite.
“The outboard-loaded wing gives some very interesting numbers in the wind tunnel,” explained the team’s technical director Jody Egginton last year, “but for us, it was too peaky. We couldn’t get it to work with the same consistency.”
Next year’s AT02 can be expected to be based around the more extreme RB16 rear-suspension layout. Even though teams must retain existing chassis into ’21, the aerodynamic surfaces can still be developed and the new rear suspension offers significant aerodynamic gains around the diffuser.
This is all from Red Bull having more resources - the parent team have more people, time and resources to find every increment of pace from every slot of carbon fiber. It tens, maybe hundreds of those small changes that make the difference.
So far this year the RB16 has qualified an average of 0.64s faster than the AT01.
Those 0.64s cost multiples of millions.