Is the other Red Bull F1 team still relevant?

While the purpose of Red Bull's other Formula 1 team may be shifting, the organization still remains committed to their racing legacy.

The ‘other’ Red Bull Formula One team's purpose was once very clear, but at the moment, we're not so sure anymore. 

Back then, Toro Rosso had a clear objective. It was the school where junior drivers were tested if they were ready to graduate to the ‘senior’ Red Bull team. Success was never the main objective, however that doesn't mean they didn't thirst after it.  

Indeed, Toro Rosso served its main purposes, with six drivers who would get promoted to the senior team. Four became race winners (two being with Toro Rosso) and two who became world champions. 

Later on, things changed. Red Bull’s ‘junior’ team became AlphaTauri. The aspirations changed too. AlphaTauri now serves as a plenipotentiary for Red Bull’s fashion brand.

The AlphaTauri days had a great start. Pierre Gasly won the 2020 Italian Grand Prix. However, the 2022 season was rather disappointing for them as they miscalculated the new technical laws and this saw them being swallowed up in the midfield, struggling with in-season development. Furthermore, they found the budget cap rather hard to work around.

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Team principal Franz Tost commented, “The season was far from as successful as we expected. We had one highlight, Baku with Pierre. But the rest of the races, we hardly scored points. And this cannot be the target from our side. We started quite well in the beginning, we were nearly every race in the points the first four races. And then later on, we lost it. Development was not at the level it should be. And we could not improve our performance." 

Continuing, he said, “In addition to this, we made some mistakes, sometimes from the strategy side, but also the drivers. This makes life quite difficult.”

Another blow to Red Bull was their personal hero, Gasly leaving to Alpine. He had agreed to leave Red Bull at the end of the 2023 season, however Alpine came calling earlier. Hence, rookies, Nyck de Vries and Yuki Tsunoda will be competing for AlphaTauri.

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This year's car is quite an improvement from last years, however the question that stands is whether the competing drivers will be able to reach Gasly's standards. It seems as though people's expectations are not too high either. This season, the only objective it may fulfill is to be a good advertising board for the fashion label.

Since the death of Dietrich Mateschitz late last year, Red Bull's founder, there have been concerns about AlphaTauri’s future. 

“In the medium-term for me, it’s clear, nothing will change because everything so far is approved,” said Tost. “Long-term? I don’t know. But I’m optimistic for the team because Red Bull stands behind us and Formula 1 is moving in such a good way." 

The major question on everyone's mind right now is “will Red Bull continue to support two F1 teams long-term?” 

Success is necessary to thrive, being successful for various reasons which include ownership, commercial strength of the team, and obviously its sporting ambitions. 2023 has to be the year for the team. 

“It’s not a question, it’s a must. We have to come back. It cannot be that we are ninth in the championship. This is absolutely not the philosophy of AlphaTauri and Red Bull," said Tost.

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