After a period of trouble-free testing, AlphaTauri chief Franz Tost did not expect dependability challenges, but the team is currently grappling with engine troubles.
The unforeseen reliability issues AlphaTauri experienced during the opening rounds of the 2022 Formula One season have taken Franz Tost by surprise.
Within the first three races, the Italian team, which is powered by rebadged Honda engines manufactured by sister company Red Bull, has had engine issues three times.
Pierre Gasly’s AT03 caught fire during the race in Bahrain, and Yuki Tsunoda had 2 different engine problems in Saudi Arabia, one of which stopped him from beginning the Grand Prix.
As a consequence, AlphaTauri has only 10 points after three races, trailing Ferrari-powered Haas and Alfa Romeo.
Tost: We were taken aback by the reliability issues
Tost, the team’s manager, described the problems as “a big shock for us” at the beginning of this season.
“We did the tests in Barcelona as well as in Bahrain without any problems – with thousands of kilometers – and now, the season starts, and in every race we have real big reliability issues,” Tost explained.
“In Bahrain, the battery on Pierre’s car caught fire and in Saudi Arabia, we managed to lose two engines.
“This is really a big shock for us because, as a result, Yuki had to start [a race] from the back of the grid, and this is, of course, not how you want to start the season.”
The troubles of Red Bull have also been evident
After three races in 2022, only Red Bull has had more early retirement than AlphaTauri.
Because they are the only two teams using Red Bull Powertrains engines, the similarities between their early-season issues are obvious. The specifics of their problems, on the other hand, were vastly different.
Both teams are now in a race against time to resolve their challenges and fight back against their opponents – Red Bull at the front of the pack and AlphaTauri in a tight midfield battle.
Tost added: “The midfield is very, very close together and it will be very tight.”
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