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AlphaTauri: F1 car is “not easy” for rookie De Vries

AlphaTauri head of trackside engineering Jonathan Eddolls admits that the team’s tricky AT04 has not been an easy machine for Formula 1 rookie Nyck de Vries to adapt to.

Nyck de Vries, AlphaTauri AT04

The car’s key weakness has been rear-end entry stability, and Eddolls acknowledged that it hasn’t helped the Dutchman, who like the other F1 newcomers also faced a run of tricky street and temporary tracks in the first part of the season.

De Vries has struggled thus far to match team-mate Yuki Tsunoda, and has been under pressure from his team boss Franz Tost and Red Bull motor sport advisor Helmut Marko to raise his game.

“It's not been an easy car for a rookie to get used to,” said Eddolls. “Some drivers find it harder to adapt to one with entry instability than others.

“I wouldn't say Nyck is someone who particularly struggles with that, but for sure to try to get a set-up that suits him has been a little bit more challenging with some of those issues.”

AlphaTauri had a new rear wing in Austria last weekend, and Eddolls confirmed that a further package for Silverstone is aimed specifically at the rear stability issue.

Nyck de Vries, AlphaTauri AT04

Nyck de Vries, AlphaTauri AT04

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

“That's the area we've been working on,” he said. “We have improved it. It's still a weakness, I would say. The package we've got for the next event is probably one of the first that should really start to address that as a targeted area.

“The parts that we [had] on for [Austria] are sort of across the map efficiency steps. So the next event should be the first that's targeted this weakness, and then we've got some further updates coming in the season. So that's the direction of the aero development.

“You change aero development, there's like an inertia. It takes time for those parts to get to the car. From now on we should start seeing the effect of the change of targeting that area of the map.”

Eddolls also praised De Vries for his contribution in trying to improve the car.

“I would actually say that one of Nyck's strengths is his feedback,” he said. “We could see as soon as he came in that he understood the limitations, the weaknesses.

“Obviously, he's a rookie in a way, but he has got a lot of experience. And I think he's very good technically as well. He really understands the way the car is, and how it works mechanically.

“One of his big strengths is actually his feedback. And his targeted approach to the areas that we need to work on to help him, and also to help the team. So [that's] a big positive, I'd say.”

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Tost has indicated that he expects the run of traditional European tracks that began with Austria to help rookie drivers, but De Vries himself downplayed any extra expectations.

“Honestly, I'm quite neutral about it,” he said. “This is kind of part of our sport, and we've always got to perform. I'm certainly giving my best and I'm not cruising around here.

“I hope that that will be enough. But I understand that obviously the current results are not satisfying enough, [neither for the team] nor for me. We try our best to do the best we can.”

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