In the Pitlane: AlphaTauri and the road ahead

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri

Last week’s column looked at the possibility of Dietrich Mateschitz selling the Red Bull team, leaving the question: what about the Scuderia AlphaTauri team?

The team was originally purchased in late 2005 from Minardi by ex-Formula 1 driver Gerhard Berger and Red Bull with the team changing its name to Toro Rosso (translating to Red Bull).

Berger sold his shareholding to Red Bull back in 2008.

It was clear from the start that the team was the junior Red Bull team and would fulfil the role as a testing ground for new talent and drivers coming up through the Red Bull driver academy as witnessed with the likes of Vettel, Ricciardo, Kyvat, Sainz Jnr, Verstappen, Albon, and Gasly.

2020 saw the significant development of the renaming of the team to Scuderia AlphaTauri, with Red Bull declaring the team would be its sister team, a clear indication of ambition.

So, what is Mateschitz’s master plan?

The AlphaTauri fashion company founded in 2016 by Red Bull has as you would expect from a billionaire businessman global ambitions.

Mateschitz created a new product with the Red Bull energy drink disrupting the soft drinks market in the process. The energy drinks market is now worth $50 billion annually with Red Bull selling an astonishing 7.5 billion cans in 2019.

Mateschitz now aims to disrupt the world of global fashion, welcome to when fashion meets function.

According to the company’s PR machine as a fashion brand AlphaTauri creates a new path in fashion through fusing textile-technologies, purposeful design, aspirational styles, and premium materials.

The F1 environment allows AlphaTauri to progress and certify its innovations and textile technologies.

Well, it is good to have that clarified!

Make no mistake Mateschitz is serious about the new project witnessed by the glitzy launch of this season’s car attended by the fashion, sport, and film elite.

The launch party was held in what is probably Salzburg’s most exciting location – the world-renowned Red Bull Hangar 7 with its collection of F1 cars and the Flying Bull’s fleet of aircraft.

Simultaneously AlphaTauri was showcased in the Rinascente luxury department store on Piazza Duomo, one of the liveliest and most exclusive locations in Milan, ahead of Milan fashion week complete with a suspended F1 car in the window.

Mateschitz will leave the team in the capable hands of team principle fellow countryman Franz Tost and ex Ferrari executive, Otello Valenti.

As for engines Honda will be kept motivated in their final season with the anticipated signing of Japanese driver Yuki Tsunoda.

With Red Bull sold AlphaTauri could start an engine supply deal for 2022 onwards with Renault free of the past toxic relationship between Abiteboul, Marko, and Horner.

The relationship or rather lack of it was summed up best by ex-Renault Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn who famously said, “When Red Bull wins Red Rull great. When Red Bull lose Renault shit. We will show them.”

The relationship was less strained with Tost although he did throw his toys out of the pram when Cyril gave the team second-hand parts enabling Renault to overtake Toro Rosso in the championship

The signing of Frenchman Pierre Gasly would be a huge motivator for Renault. A French race winner powered by a French engine is high up the marketing department’s wish list.

Time will tell on the eventual outcome for Red Bull and AlphaTauri.

In the meantime, the paddock is still desperately trying to find out how Pierre Gasly allegedly upset his masters at Red Bull.

Well, did Christian Horner overhear Gasly telling Kvyat Posh Spice was his favourite spice girl!

 


Garry Sloan is the author of “In the pit lane – F1 exposed” details at inthepitlane.com
Copyright ©2020 Garry Sloan