AlphaTauri predicts 'mid-2020' performance level despite aero changes

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Performance of this year's AlphaTauri will likely be at mid-2020 levels despite important aero changes, technical director Jody Eggington claims.

While Formula 1 teams are carrying over much of their designs from last year, the floor, diffuser and rear brake ducts have been altered to reduce downforce amid concerns of overloading the Pirelli tyres.

As a result, some have predicted teams won't be able to recoup the loss of performance versus last year's cars, but Eggington thinks otherwise.

"The work which has been undertaken to develop our car for 2021 goes far beyond compliance with regulation changes and has involved changes to nearly all aero surfaces and also the development and repackaging large parts of the car, which are hidden, in order to achieve these changes," he said after the launch of the new AlphaTauri AT02 on Friday.

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“The headline aero numbers have been affected by the changes, but we have been working really hard to recover the lost performance and also improve the aerodynamic operating window for the car.

"How fast will our car be? It’s not something I would want to put an exact number to just yet. Overall, taking everything into account, I would say we will probably see a performance level similar to that seen mid-2020.”

AlphaTauri was also one of the teams in a unique position to be able to upgrade certain non-listed parts they get from Red Bull.

However, the technical chief explained why the Italian squad decided against upgrading all the parts that they could have.

"For 2021 major changes to the car require the use of ‘tokens’ and each team is limited to just two tokens," he noted.

"We believe the chassis and power unit provides a good baseline, so we’ve elected to use our tokens on a new nose and also redesigned the outboard front suspension, as a result of this we have elected to update some Red Bull Technologies supplied steering components to 2020 specification, as permitted by the regulations.

“The use of Red Bull Technologies supplied gearbox, rear suspension and some front suspension components is now in its third year for us but for 2021 we have elected to continue with the same rear suspension & gearbox design as we used in 2020."