The Concerning Weakness of AlphaTauri’s F1 Car and Its Implications for Ricciardo

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Instead of returning to the race-winning RB19 machinery that Daniel Ricciardo excelled in during the recent Silverstone tyre test, he finds himself in a different battle altogether. Currently at the bottom of the constructors’ standings, AlphaTauri’s car poses a significant challenge for the Australian driver.

Unfortunately for Ricciardo, the AT04, AlphaTauri’s car, exhibits a critical weakness in an area that plagued him during his tenure at McLaren. Known for his preference for a car with strong braking and corner entry capabilities, Ricciardo’s skill shines when provided with such characteristics, evident in his signature late-braking overtakes.

However, as demonstrated during his time at McLaren, if the car fails to instill the necessary confidence during corner entry, it can quickly lead to a loss of control. In an interview with F1’s Beyond the Grid podcast last year, Ricciardo emphasized the importance of corner entry: “It all starts there. If you struggle with a corner on the exit, normally it’s a product of what’s happened through the corner that’s put you in a position of, let’s say, difficulty on the exit. Most difficulties start on the entry – maybe not all, but most.”

Adding to Ricciardo’s concerns is the knowledge that both Yuki Tsunoda and Nyck de Vries have struggled with a similar limitation in the AT04 this year. The late entry phase to corners, which triggers rear instability, has been a notable issue for these drivers, undermining their confidence behind the wheel.

Jonathan Eddolls, AlphaTauri’s head of trackside engineering, openly acknowledged the team’s pursuit of a solution for this critical problem. Addressing the rear instability resulting from late entry, he stated, “We have improved it, but it’s still a weakness, I would say.”

The issue stems from the car’s rear ride height lifting as the downforce diminishes when decelerating sharply. This aero imbalance further compounds the problem. Jody Egginton, the technical director, explained the team’s efforts to enhance stability by increasing rear load during the entry phase. He emphasized the need to extend this improvement further into the corner, enabling the driver to push harder toward the late entry apex.

The current generation of ground-effect cars presents challenges in finding a setup compromise for different corner speeds. Eddolls admitted that a problem in one area of the lap can have repercussions elsewhere. To address the late entry weakness, adjustments made to the car may inadvertently slow down other aspects. For example, attempting to add aero balance for high-speed sections limits the adjustments that can be made for low-speed entry. Consequently, weaknesses in one area can have implications throughout the entire lap.

AlphaTauri introduced updates at the British Grand Prix to tackle this problem, but Yuki Tsunoda’s lukewarm response indicates that they have yet to achieve the desired outcome. However, the team remains committed to the task, and Eddolls expects the effects of the changes to become evident as they continue to develop their aerodynamics.

The speed at which AlphaTauri can overcome this weakness may prove pivotal to Ricciardo’s performance for the remainder of the season. Nevertheless, having experienced the difficulties of corner entry at McLaren, Ricciardo may feel better equipped to contribute his insights and help find a solution this time around.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about F1 weakness

What is the main weakness of AlphaTauri’s F1 car?

The main weakness of AlphaTauri’s F1 car, the AT04, lies in its corner entry phase. This weakness can lead to rear instability, hindering driver confidence and potentially causing difficulties during the exit phase of corners as well.

How does the weakness in corner entry affect Ricciardo?

Daniel Ricciardo, known for his preference for a car with strong braking and corner entry, may struggle with the AT04’s weakness. If the car fails to provide the desired confidence during corner entry, it can quickly spiral out of control, similar to his experience during his time at McLaren.

Has AlphaTauri addressed this weakness in their car?

AlphaTauri is actively working to address the weakness in corner entry. The team has made improvements but acknowledges that it remains a significant challenge. They are focused on enhancing rear stability and extending the improvements into the corner to allow drivers to push harder toward the late entry apex.

What are the consequences of the corner entry weakness?

The consequences of the corner entry weakness can extend beyond just that phase of the lap. In trying to address the weakness, adjustments made to the car may affect other areas, potentially slowing down overall performance. It is a delicate balance between improving one aspect and maintaining a competitive lap time.

How important is it for Ricciardo’s performance that AlphaTauri resolves this weakness?

The resolution of the corner entry weakness by AlphaTauri will be crucial for Ricciardo’s performance in the remaining races. If the team can provide him with a car that instills confidence during corner entry, it will greatly enhance his ability to showcase his skills and improve his overall performance.

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FormulaOneGeek July 13, 2023 - 4:31 pm

The weakness in corner entry is a real concern for Ricciardo and AlphaTauri. It affects his confidence and can lead to difficulties in other parts of the lap. They need to find a solution ASAP!

FastDriver77 July 13, 2023 - 6:16 pm

AlphaTauri’s car is strugglin with rear instability in da corners. Ricciardo faced dis issue b4 at McLaren. Hope they sort it out quick so he can show his skillz on da track!

RacingEnthusiast July 13, 2023 - 8:12 pm

Ricciardo luvss cars with strong brakes n corner entry, that’s when he’s brillianc cums out! but dis AT04 car ain’t givin him da confidence he needs. AlphaTauri gotta work on dat weakness, man!

F1Fan22 July 13, 2023 - 10:09 pm

omg, dis is bad news for Ricciardo! his new car has a weakness in corner entry, just like da one he had at McLaren. not gud for his confidence. hope AlphaTauri fix it soon!

RaceTrackAce July 14, 2023 - 9:46 am

AlphaTauri’s car got a prob with corner entry, man! Ricciardo ain’t gonna like dat. They gotta fix it and make him feel more secure on da track. Can’t wait to see how it all plays out!


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