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AlphaTauri still "aligned" despite Tost's no trust comments

AlphaTauri Formula 1 technical director Jody Egginton says the Faenza outfit remans “aligned” despite public criticism from team principal Franz Tost.

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT04

Amid a disappointing start to the 2023 season, Tost said at the Saudi Arabian GP he didn’t trust his engineers after the AT04 failed to live up to expectations.

The team showed some signs of progress in Melbourne, where Yuki Tsunoda qualified 12th and scored the team’s first point of the season with 10th place, having risen as high as fifth before the red flag after the third grid restart.

Egginton insists that the team has moved on from Tost’s comments.

“Franz knows the engineering team a long time,” he said when asked by Autosport about Tost’s words. “It's the same engineering team that gave cars in 2019, '20 and ‘21 which scored podiums.

“Franz has made a statement, potentially it's been taken slightly out of context and it's not really giving the exact picture.

“But we work as a team, we sit down with Franz, we discuss things, and we keep going really.

“So it is how it is. Franz has given some interviews and made some suggestions, but we continue. It changes nothing, everyone's aligned on what we've got to do, and we keep going.”

Franz Tost, Team Principal, Scuderia AlphaTauri

Franz Tost, Team Principal, Scuderia AlphaTauri

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

Egginton downplayed the suggestion that the team hadn’t set high enough targets for the AT04 over the winter, and lost out to more ambitious rivals.

“The disappointment from Franz's side as a team principal is that the car's not established well enough into the midfield to be where we want,” said Egginton.

“He's expressed that in a certain way. But we've hit some of our targets, they were valid targets, they're good targets, we've not quite hit some of the others yet, but we will.

“I've got no concerns that our targets are far away from what we need to be doing to be competitive. It's just some of them we haven't got to yet. It's a very tight midfield. If you don't get your targets, then you find yourself towards the back of that.

“So when we hit our targets, I'm confident that they're valid targets and will they'll be sufficient to establish us in the midfield.”

Egginton suggested that the fact that the team didn’t hit all of those targets is because they were set very high.

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT04

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT04

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

“If you achieve all of your targets easily in the winter, then it's likely you've set yourself the wrong targets,” he said. “They were aggressive targets. We met some of them for launch spec, some of the others we are part way to meeting.

“You have a plan, you work to that plan and sometimes you don't quite hit your targets.”

The team brought a substantial update package to Melbourne, including a new floor and diffuser, although Tsunoda had to revert to the original spec after an off in practice.

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Egginton said the updates demonstrated that the team is pressing on with development.

“The reality is that the first part of the season, to get into that midfield, we've got to try and out-develop some teams, which is why we come [to Melbourne] with the floor,” he said. “And most of the teams have come with less.

“So our strategy is just to keep putting performance on the car. Hopefully we're out-developing some of our competitors in the early phase of the season and we catch them up. If we don't develop them, we won't catch up. So our strategy is the obvious one to try and reduce that gap.”

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