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AlphaTauri used a combination of development tokens and parts from last year’s Red Bull to overhaul the front end of its new car for the 2021 F1 season.

As a cost-saving measure, Formula 1 teams have been restricted in how they may upgrade their cars for the new season. A system of token was introduced in order to limit what parts they can upgrade.

However teams like AlphaTauri, which sources parts from Red Bull, also had the option of upgrading to the 2020-specification parts used by their supplier teams. While AlphaTauri decided against adopting Red Bull’s 2020 rear suspension and gearbox, it has incorporated some parts from the front end of the RB16.

“We have elected to carry over the safety cell,” explained technical director Jody Egginton. “We believe the chassis and power unit provides a good baseline, so we are happy to have spent our tokens elsewhere for 2021.”

“The use of Red Bull Technologies-supplied gearbox, rear suspension and some front suspension components is now in its third year for us but for 2021 we have elected to continue with the same rear suspension and gearbox design as we used in 2020,” he added.

“We’ve elected to use our two tokens for a new nose and also redesigned the outboard front suspension, as a result of this we have elected to update some Red Bull Technology supplied steering components to 2020 specification, as permitted by the technical regulations.”

AlphaTauri AT02, 2021
First pictures: AlphaTauri reveals new AT02 for 2021

The 2021 technical rules also specify aerodynamic changes, including a reduction of the rear floor dimensions, which are intended to reduce how much downforce the cars generate.

“The headline aero numbers have been affected by the aero change, but we have been working really hard to recover the lost performance and also improve the aerodynamic operating window for the car,” said Egginton.

“How fast will our car be? It’s not something I would want to put an exact number to just yet. Overall, taking everything into account, I would say we will probably see a performance level similar to that seen mid-2020.”

The AT02 will also benefit from an upgraded power unit supplied by Honda. The manufacturer will leave Formula 1 at the end of the season.

“Effectively, Honda is giving us a new power unit for this year and have taken the opportunity to develop the packaging around it,” said Egginton. “Honda is very determined to push right to the end of 2021 and we are sure the power unit will continue to provide all that is required from it.”

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