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F1 tech review: AlphaTauri makes inroads with big plans ahead

The junior Red Bull Formula 1 outfit managed to finish one position higher in the standings than it did in 2022 but will continue to look for more as it strengthens its collaboration with the senior team going forward.

AlphaTauri AT04 front wing detail

Photo by: Uncredited

Let’s take a look at some of the AT04’s finer details and how it was developed throughout the course of 2023…

AlphaTauri AT04 new side detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

AlphaTauri AT04 new side detail

AlphaTauri kicked off what would become one of the most intense development cycles on the grid with a substantial package of parts at the Australian Grand Prix, which notably included a change to the forward section of its floor, with all of the fences fettled to take advantage of the surrounding alterations.


AlphaTauri AT04 rear detail

Photo by: Uncredited

AlphaTauri AT04 rear detail

The team had already introduced a new, lower downforce, rear wing option at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, to improve straightline speed.


AlphaTauri AT04 detail

Photo by: Uncredited

AlphaTauri AT04 detail

Another great image from Jeddah, which shows the power unit ancillaries’ installation, with a double feed from the airbox delivering cool air to the saddle cooler and power unit below. We’re also able to see the internal sidepod baffle mounted atop the radiator housed within the right-hand side of the car.


AlphaTauri AT04 technical detail

Photo by: Uncredited

AlphaTauri AT04 technical detail

A close up of the forward section of the edge wing, which is not only rolled up into a scroll it has also been divided by three strakes to help disseminate the required aerodynamic effect.


AlphaTauri AT04 technical detail

Photo by: Uncredited

AlphaTauri AT04 technical detail

An overview of the AT04’s rear end at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, which shows off the beam wing, with an upper element that runs under the exhaust and over the crash structure.


AlphaTauri AT04 technical detail

Photo by: Uncredited

AlphaTauri AT04 technical detail

A close up of the diffuser sidewall on the AT04, with a squared-off mouse hole utilised in the forward portion.


AlphaTauri AT04 technical detail

Photo by: Uncredited

AlphaTauri AT04 technical detail

Another look inside the AT04’s sidepod, which shows the layout of their radiators, the upper deflector panel and the wedge-shaped oil tank.


AlphaTauri AT04 technical detail

Photo by: Filip Cleeren

AlphaTauri AT04 technical detail

AlphaTauri added a swage line to the lower half of the endplate at the Spanish Grand Prix, in order to tie-in the various airflow structures that surround it.


AlphaTauri AT04 technical detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

AlphaTauri AT04 technical detail

An overview of the AT04 as it was prepared for action allows us to see both the front and rear brake assemblies without the outer drums in place. Both use a fairing to surround the brake disc, isolating it from the space inside the drum to help improve temperature control.


AlphaTauri AT04 rear detail

Photo by: Uncredited

AlphaTauri AT04 rear detail

AlphaTauri opted for a lower downforce rear wing variant for the Belgian Grand Prix.


AlphaTauri AT04 rear detail

Photo by: Uncredited

AlphaTauri AT04 rear detail

In this image of the AT04 from the Dutch Grand Prix we’re able to see the stepped transition used by the team in the diffuser boat tail section.


AlphaTauri AT04 technical detail

Photo by: Uncredited

AlphaTauri AT04 technical detail

A close up of the rear wing tip section, which employs the open-ended solution seen on other cars to help control the vortex formed at the wing tip.


AlphaTauri AT04 technical detail

Photo by: Uncredited

AlphaTauri AT04 technical detail

The AT04 with a low downforce rear wing solution for the Italian Grand Prix, which is paired to a bi-plane style beam wing element, with a backed-off element mounted further forward and just below the exhaust, whilst the lower element is mounted just above the diffuser.


AlphaTauri AT04 technical detail

Photo by: Filip Cleeren

AlphaTauri AT04 technical detail

Comparatively, here’s the usual layout at the Japanese Grand Prix with the elements stacked in series around the exhaust tip.


AlphaTauri AT04 technical detail

Photo by: Filip Cleeren

AlphaTauri AT04 technical detail

A close up of the AT04’s wraparound wing mirror assembly, with the L-shaped halo winglet also visible in the background.


AlphaTauri AT04 detail

Photo by: Uncredited

AlphaTauri AT04 detail

The AT04’s edge wing at the Qatar Grand Prix, with the rear section twisted in the opposite direction to the scrolled forward section.


AlphaTauri AT04 detail

Photo by: Uncredited

AlphaTauri AT04 detail

The open-ended tip section solution combined with the higher downforce rear wing assembly at the Qatar Grand Prix.


AlphaTauri AT04 technical detail

Photo by: Uncredited

AlphaTauri AT04 technical detail

A good angle to see how the open-ended tip section solution exposes the mainplane flap and endplate juncture and the rear cutout.


AlphaTauri AT04 technical detail

Photo by: Uncredited

AlphaTauri AT04 technical detail

A revised edge wing design was deployed at the United States GP, with the forward scroll section given an increased camber, whilst the section aft of the strakes was also increased in length.


AlphaTauri AT04 side detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

AlphaTauri AT04 side detail

The update package introduced at COTA was an extensive one, with changes made to the entire floor, edge wing, floor fences, engine cover, rear brake duct winglets and changes to the lower chassis surface to help better integrate it with the suspension fairings.


AlphaTauri AT04 sidepods detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

AlphaTauri AT04 sidepods detail

The team would later create a hybrid floor package at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, taking design elements from their old arrangement and the one introduced at COTA.


Here’s the list of the components that AlphaTauri listed as having changed in the car presentation document prior to each race.

  • Saudi Arabia
      • Rear wing
  • Australia
      • Floor (underside)
      • Floor fences
      • Floor edge
      • Diffuser
  • Azerbaijan
      • Front wing
      • Engine cover (cooling)
      • Rear wing
      • Beam wing
      • RBD (Fence and winglets)
  • Miami
      • Front Wing (outboard)
      • Mirror assembly
  • Monaco
      • Floor fences
      • Floor (front and ahead of rear tyre)
      • Floor edge
      • Diffuser
      • Sidepod inlet
      • Engine cover
      • Front suspension (steering lock)
      • Rear wing
      • RWEP
  • Spain
      • Rear wing
      • RWEP swage line
  • Canada
      • Front wing
  • Austria
      • Rear wing
      • Beam wing
      • Cooling louvres
  • Great Britain
      • Floor - underfloor, floor fences, floor edge and diffuser
      • Engine cover
      • RBD winglets
      • Rear wing
      • Beam wing
  • Hungary
      • Front wing
      • Nose - to match
      • Floor (wider rear section, underside)
      • Rear wing
  • Belgium
      • Rear wing
  • Netherlands
      • RWEP (tip)
  • Italy
      • Front wing
      • Beam wing
      • RBD - winglet removal
      • Mirror winglet removal
  • Singapore
      • Floor body
      • Floor edge
      • Diffuser
      • Sidepod inlet
      • Engine cover
      • Rear suspension fairings
      • RBD scoop and upper winglet cascade
      • Mirror body and vanes
  • Japan
      • Rear wing
      • Mirror vanes removed
  • Qatar
      • Floor edge
  • USA
      • Floor body, fences and edge
      • Engine cover bodywork
      • Rear brake duct winglets
      • Front suspension/chassis blisters
  • Mexico
      • Front brake duct inlet scoop
      • Engine cover and cooling exit size
  • Brazil
      • N/A
  • Las Vegas
      • N/A
  • Abu Dhabi
    • Floor body, fences and edge

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