F1 news headlines have been very complimentary towards Williams this year, but AlphaTauri has emerged as a legitimate threat.
Although the battle for 1st in the constructors was settled relatively early in 2023, there are crucial battles elsewhere. One of the most hotly contested is the battle for 7th, between Williams and AlphaTauri. Despite varying fortunes to start the year, these outfits have become regular points contenders.
Initially, Haas and Alfa Romeo were firmly in this battle. F1 news was quick to cover Williams hitting their stride around mid-season, with Alex Albon’s P7 in Canada being a key turning point. AlphaTauri, meanwhile, benefited from an update package introduced in Singapore – pushing the Italian outfit significantly up the field.
Their increased cooperation with Red Bull is a crucial asset, which will be increasingly clear in 2024. In the short term, however, their progress is commendable. Established front-runners like Mercedes and Ferrari have been troubled by the Faenza outfit in recent events.
Whilst this purple patch is starting relatively late, it might be enough to overtake Williams. The Grove-based team has enjoyed a successful campaign but has been reliant on one driver to secure most of their points. With only a seven-point buffer to their Italian rivals, they are potentially vulnerable in Vegas and Abu Dhabi.
AlphaTauri within striking range
Following a fruitless weekend in Interlagos, Dave Robson (Head of Vehicle Performance) assessed the situation:
“AlphaTauri were able to take a further 2 points out of our margin over them in the Championship.
“Whilst this is concerning, we were fortunate that they were unable to score more points today – as their pace was very strong.
“We have a brief break now before we go to Las Vegas for the first part of the final double-header.
“We still have a lead over our direct rivals and plenty of opportunity to defend that to the end of the season.”
In many ways, AlphaTauri will be frustrated that the 2023 season is drawing to a close. Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda are both fast enough to deliver points, and the AT04 is increasingly competitive.
For Williams, the upcoming double-header could be a question of damage limitation. Alex Albon will be working to secure points and prevent the team from losing its place in the standings. Regardless of what the classification reflects after the chequered flag in Abu Dhabi, James Vowles will be working to improve his team’s capacity to develop and progress for 2024.