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AlphaTauri progress due to "less lazy" F1 car

AlphaTauri technical director Jody Egginton has explained making the team's 2021 Formula 1 car "less lazy" in low-speed corners has been key in overcoming its early season wobble.

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT02

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT02

Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Pierre Gasly has been one of the standout performers of the 2021 F1 season, qualifying in the top six on six occasions and only missing the Q3 shootout once.

The pace of the AlphaTauri AT21 has helped the Frenchman hold eighth in the drivers' championship after the Styrian Grand Prix, partly thanks to a shock podium in Baku.

After a strong start to the season, the Faenza outfit had a wobble in the Portuguese and Spanish rounds, with Gasly only just managing to finish 10th in each race and team-mate Yuki Tsunoda remaining point-less in both races.

Technical director Egginton said the team asked itself "a lot of questions" about its rough Iberian spell and believes it learned valuable lessons about the car's low-speed performance in those two races.

Egginton thinks the fact that the team has since managed to cure the car's "laziness" in cornering has been key in making progress in F1's midfield.

That approach paid off big in Azerbaijan, where Gasly scored his third F1 podium, and has since continued to pay dividends as AlphaTauri currently holds fifth in the constructors' championship ahead of Aston Martin by two points.

"After Portugal and Spain we had some concerns on our low-speed performance," Egginton said in Austria. "We were not fantastically happy."

"Then we went into Monaco and we played around with a set-up a bit. It's a bit of a unique circuit and you can't always take too many conclusions, but we thought we did some sensible learning there.

"And then our attention focused to a few of the balances and trying to get the car to be a little bit less lazy and rotate better in the medium speed, and [in] Baku we had good car rotation at low-speed corners, the car seemed to rotate quite nicely.

"Paul Ricard was challenging for everybody with tyres and track temperatures and balance, but although the car was difficult to drive, it was competitive, far more competitive than we've been in the previous years. So again, we felt we learned something."

Egginton pointed out the team's progress has also been evident in the first Austrian race weekend, in which Gasly qualified sixth and rookie Tsunoda qualified in eighth but started in 11th due to a three-place grid penalty.

While Tsunoda grabbed a point in 10th, Gasly had to retire after being tagged by Charles Leclerc's Ferrari on the opening lap.

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri AT02, limps back to the pits and into retirement with a puncture and damage on the opening lap

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri AT02, limps back to the pits and into retirement with a puncture and damage on the opening lap

Photo by: Jerry Andre / Motorsport Images

But before Sunday's events Egginton said AlphaTauri had been able to "answer a few questions" and cure the car's key weakness.

"We sort of put all that together and knowing the nature of this place, not so much low-speed content, a lot of medium speed, and you need a good stability and rotation and it's all come together," Egginton added.

"So, there's a full story. I think the engineers have put everything together, all of the lessons we've learned in recent events, and it's worked quite well. We feel we've got a better understanding.

"We've answered a few questions and the car's going quicker as a result of it."

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