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Why AlphaTauri is bringing a major "joker" F1 upgrade to Abu Dhabi

AlphaTauri has explained the reasoning behind its major Formula 1 floor upgrade for Abu Dhabi, which it hopes can be a "joker" to help "chase down Williams to the line".

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT04

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT04

Jake Grant / Motorsport Images

AlphaTauri has taken large steps forward in the final third of the 2023 season, with gradual floor upgrades being compounded by taking Red Bull's RB19 rear suspension from Singapore onwards rather than its own design, improving the AT04's stability.
Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda scored 16 of AlphaTauri's 21 points in the Austin-Mexico-Brazil triple-header, which has seen it jump from last place to eighth.
In this weekend's Abu Dhabi's season finale, it will still have an outside chance of beating Williams for seventh, now seven points ahead.
Speaking exclusively to Autosport, AlphaTauri CEO Peter Bayer said the original goal of the Abu Dhabi upgrade, which encompasses another tweak to the AT04's floor, is a trial for the 2024 car.
But he hopes the team has a "little joker in the back pocket" to "chase down Williams", which the team is expecting to yield a few tenths.
"Everyone's motivated to chase down Williams to the line and we have a big upgrade coming for Abu Dhabi, which we hope will give us the missing tenths to fight for some top positions," Bayer explained.
"The original strategic goal was 2024, but because we've put ourselves into this situation now, it comes in handy, so to say that we have another little joker in the back pocket.
Daniel Ricciardo, AlphaTauri AT04

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Daniel Ricciardo, AlphaTauri AT04

"First of all it needs to work, but the data we've seen from CFD and the wind tunnel is very promising and will help us to find more. It's all about balance, aerodynamic efficiency and rear downforce."
The team's technical director Jody Egginton added that the upgrade is an "R&D exercise" that was viable because of the stable regulations for next year, so any lessons can be carried to the 2024 car.
"It's a floor and it's about learning for next year. It's more an R&D exercise than anything else," he told Autosport.
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"It was something that was on the plan for a long time, far before we had any view that we might well be fighting for a position in the last race of the year, so it's totally independent of that. It's an R&D exercise.
"With the stable regulations, it's easy to carry things forward and the floor update in Abu Dhabi is part of that.
"It gives you the opportunity to push a bit longer and learn more knowing that next year the regulations are stable."

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