Alpha Tauri has been living under the shadows of Red Bull ever since their Toro Rosso days, but since the rebrand, they are starting to feel like their own separate team.
With their driver line-up retained for this season, things are looking good for the Italian team.
Pierre Gasly will be leading the team once again this season, hoping to prove to Red Bull that he is the right man to take on Verstappen at the parent team.
Ever since Gasly’s early promotion and subsequent demotion from Red Bull, he has gone from strength to strength and has already claimed a race victory and two further podiums since.
He will be partnered once again by Yuki Tsunoda, who is looking to continue his solid form from the latter stages of last season. After making a rapid start to his Formula One career, he began to struggle.
His form picked up as his Grand Prix tally increased and looks to be a solid challenger for the points-paying positions this season.
Alpha Tauri went under the radar at testing, with very little being made of the team that has often punched above its weight. The highlight from the pre-season shakedown in Barcelona was Gasly ending the second day of running in second place.
The first day of testing in Bahrain will be one that Alpha Tauri fans will remember for some time, with Gasly ending the day as the fastest driver. The rest of the weekend was also solid for the team having no major reliability concerns going into the season.
Keeping Gasly at the time might be one of the best things Alpha Tauri have done because he is arguably one of the best drivers who doesn’t have a seat at a top team.
While there is the argument that Gasly isn’t quite of the level needed to race for Red Bull, I think that experience of being dropped helped make him a better driver and now is one of the best on the grid.
Tsunoda is entering his second season in F1 and should feel much more comfortable this time around. He was making costly mistakes but as the season progressed, these became less and less and the performances increased.
The key to Alpha Tauri’s success this season will be how competitive Tsuonda will be. If he can score regular points to back up Gasly, then this could be a really strong season for the team.