SALZBURG, Austria – Scuderia AlphaTauri served up a stylish preview of the new Formula One season with a presentation of its new livery on Friday.
The launch – held at AlphaTauri’s new showroom in Salzburg, Austria, and presented digitally – marked the first time that drivers Pierre Gasly of France and Yuki Tsunoda of Japan have appeared together as teammates.
After a successful first season racing in AlphaTauri colours, the Italian outfit is looking to challenge the top of the ultra-competitive midfield in 2021, and the two young drivers have been assigned clear-cut roles.
Gasly is the team leader for the upcoming season. The 25-year-old, who made his Formula One debut with the team in 2017 under its former name, Scuderia Toro Rosso, has earned two F-1 podiums.
During the 2020 campaign, Gasly’s maiden win at Monza was a defining moment for him and the team under its new name.
Tsunoda, 20, is the first Japanese driver to race in F1 since 2014, his promotion coming off the back of a fast, four-season trajectory from winning the 2018 F4 Japanese championship and finishing third in last year’s FIA F2 Championship to entering the top level this year.
Expectations are high for his rapid style of learning to complement the experience of Gasly.
“The decision to go for Pierre and Yuki in 2021 was taken because Scuderia AlphaTauri’s philosophy is still to give talented young drivers from the Red Bull Junior Program the opportunity to step up to F1 and to educate them – this is why Yuki now gets his chance,” explained Scuderia AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost. “With Pierre on Yuki’s side we have an experienced driver, who can help our Japanese rookie to develop faster, but at the same time we can aim for good results.
“I think this pair is the best possible scenario to achieve both our targets, and I’m also confident this will be a successful one.”
Last season, Scuderia AlphaTauri won best livery by a landslide, and the team’s all-new, matte blue and white race car livery took center stage with the drivers at the fashion event, anticipating the 2021 model that will debut at pre-season testing in Bahrain on March 12.
The test is the precursor to an unprecedented 23-race schedule, and in preparation for the demanding calendar both drivers have spent time at Red Bull’s Athlete Performance Center for intense fitness testing.
“I’m ready to take on the role of team leader. Yuki is a very quick driver, and he will help us move the team forward – we will work together to achieve that,” said Gasly, the team’s all-time top points scorer. “I really believe last year was the team’s best in terms of the way it worked, the development, the performance and the way it managed the race weekends. I’m always hungry for more, and I’m sure we can achieve great things in 2021.”
Tsunoda was honored with the Anthoine Hubert Award for best F-2 rookie last season and looks forward to working with Gasly this year.
“I’ve been lucky enough to spend some time with Scuderia AlphaTauri ahead of the season, so I’m already developing strong relationships and learning a lot from them – including Pierre, who is an incredible talent,” said Tsunoda. “My main goal is to learn quickly and deliver results as soon as possible, and I’m really excited to get started.”
The launch at the AlphaTauri Showroom not only gave Gasly and Tsunoda a preview of the new AlphaTauri autumn/winter fashion collection, but allowed them the chance to select their new off-grid looks ahead of the start of the new season.
“This is a triple reveal at a unique point of time: a new AlphaTauri Showroom where fashion meets F1, a first look at the AW21 AlphaTauri collection and the unveiling of the new Scuderia AlphaTauri F1 livery and driver pairing,” said AlphaTauri CEO Ahmet Mercan.
The FIA Formula One season kicks off at the Bahrain Test March 12-14, in preparation for the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 28.