FIA single-seater director Nikolas Tombazis confirmed that while the FIA is not currently concerned over the Red Bull-AlphaTauri partnership, the same is not true in the F1 paddock and so fresh guidance is coming.
While Red Bull and the soon to be rebranded AlphaTauri team fall under the same ownership, AlphaTauri serving as the Red Bull junior team, both outfits have been operating very much independently as per the regulations.
AlphaTauri’s efforts to follow a distinct path of their own has not been successful though in recent seasons, prompting Red Bull and AlphaTauri senior advisor Helmut Marko to order a strengthening of ties which would see AlphaTauri rely on Red Bull in all ways allowed under the regulations. The early signs are very promising.
AlphaTauri looked set to finish last in the F1 2023 Constructors’ Championship, but a warm-up upgrade for their closer ties with Red Bull to come saw the team surge to regularly challenging for points in the latter rounds, ultimately finishing P8.
But, with Red Bull having wiped the floor with the F1 2023 competition, rivals are up in arms about the prospect of AlphaTauri working closely with their parent team from next season.
The FIA assures it is keeping a very close watch on the situation and will soon be issuing “further guidance” on how the teams can prove they are working sufficiently independent.
“We check teams that are in close proximity to each other a lot more closely than we check completely independent teams, exactly to make sure this thing doesn’t happen. That is a concern,” said Tombazis, as per Motorsport.com, regarding the raised eyebrows over Red Bull and AlphaTauri.
“It has been a concern not only between the two teams mentioned, but also among other pairs of teams.
“We believe that AlphaTauri specifically does have quite different aerodynamic solutions to the other company, and we don’t think there’s any sign of any direct collaboration.
“Clearly, they are working hard and they have made a step forward. But I don’t think it can be said it’s due to collaboration.
“That said, collaboration, or making sure that no such thing happens, is one of the tricky parts of policing teams.
“We do need to audit and make sure that all of these teams are well segregated and so on. And we will be issuing some further guidances quite soon to just provide further information to the teams about how they can convince us none of that is happening.
“We’re not underestimating the challenge and it is one of the difficulties we have.”
It is an unchanged grid for F1 2024, as three-time World Champion Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez continue at Red Bull, with Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda still at the wheel for the Red Bull junior team.