F1 2021 Car Reveals: AlphaTauri AT02 – How it compares to last year’s AT01
AlphaTauri has become the second team to launch their 2021 Formula 1 car, revealing the AT02 alongside a new fashion collection at the brand’s new showroom in Salzburg, Austria.
Drivers Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda were present sporting items for the fashion brand before unveiling the new car.
While it is too early to speculate much on what the aerodynamic components on the car are, as these parts will almost certainly change between now and winter testing, some architectural changes to the car forced by new regulations can be speculated.
The AT02 brings a livery with a significantly higher blue content, potentially in an effort to stand out on the grid, but also, somewhat ironically, harkening back to the Toro Rosso identity the team used prior to 2020’s rebrand.
As expected, the front of the car doesn’t give the game away, utilising the front wing philosophy of a number of last year’s challengers. A low wing angle towards the endplates with most of the aero load generated towards the mandated neutral section of the wing is in an attempt to generate what outwash is still possible after the banning of the intricate cascades seen on the 2018 cars. The suspension and brake ducts here also seem to be nigh identical to the AT01, again due to the team running a rollout spec.
The bargeboard area has undergone a redesign with small revisions made upstream of the sidepods. The ‘aero boomerang’ that connects the top of the turning vanes to the leading edge of the floor has a more angular, 90 degree profile. The turning vanes connected outboard of the side impact structure, obscuring the Honda logo in both images has been changed. This area now uses the louvres reminiscent of those seen on the Red Bull in 2020.
Moving onto the floor, the Faenza outfit seems to have chosen a more intricate design than McLaren chose to reveal. The floor tapers in towards the centreline of the car at the rear, with a significant step inwards just aft of the of the roll hoop. There also appears to be an upturned area forward of the rear tyre, potentially to seal the floor as best the team can with the changes made to the floor size this year.
At the rear, the team has dropped the coat hanger wing as has been popular recently, but otherwise the rear wing shown is no different than that used during the season finale in 2020. On the diffuser, the length of the vital strakes which help maintain the laminar flow of the air in the side are, as is required, shortened. The rear wing centre support structure also maintains the twin swan-neck structure seen in Abu Dhabi.
This launch specification previews some interesting changes for AlphaTauri however, as mentioned previously, this is almost certain to change between now and testing in Bahrain on the 12th March.