Franz Tost admits AlphaTauri's reliability issues have come as "a big shock"
Franz Tost has admitted AlphaTauri’s reliability issues this season have come as “a big shock” to the team.
AlphaTauri have yet to finish a race higher than eighth this season, Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda having filled that placing in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain respectively.
It represents a disappointing start to the campaign for the Faenza-based squad, whose struggles mirror those of the senior team that is also under Red Bull ownership.
Gasly was the first driver to retire from a grand prix under the new era of regulations when he pulled out in Bahrain with the car on fire, while Tsunoda endured a torrid weekend at Jeddah where he was unable to set a lap in qualifying and his AT03 then broke down on the way to the grid for the race.
So many troubles have been unexpected given everything had looked so promising on the reliability side in testing.
“It was a big shock for us,” said Tost, the AlphaTauri team principal, quoted by Motorsport-magazin.com. “During the tests in Barcelona and Bahrain we had no problems.
“We drove thousands of kilometres without any problems and since the start of the season we suddenly have really big problems with the reliability of the car.”
Tsunoda is already on to his third and final permitted Red Bull-badged Honda engine of the campaign and Tost has acknowledged a grid penalty, when a fourth is used, is inevitable.
“The reliability problems are, of course, shocking and as a result Yuki will have to start from the very back later in the season,” added the 66-year-old Austrian. “This is definitely not how we wanted to start the season.”
Having finished sixth in last season’s Constructors’ standings, with Gasly providing the team’s best result of third place in Azerbaijan, the initial aim for AlphaTauri was to improve into the top five this time around.
But that is already looking something of a tall order as they sit eighth in the early list, although in fairness McLaren, in fourth, are only 14 points ahead with Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull already well clear of the rest.
“The midfield is very, very close. It’s really tight,” added Tost, who will be hoping Gasly can get somewhere close to his qualifying performance at Imola last year in the next round of this year’s championship, the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, with the Frenchman having started fifth in 2021.
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