Formula 1: AlphaTauri teammates setting up for a fierce battle

Nyck de Vries, AlphaTauri, Formula 1 (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Nyck de Vries, AlphaTauri, Formula 1 (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images) /

Despite competing as a team, AlphaTauri will have quite the competitive battle between their drivers throughout the 2023 Formula 1 season.

AlphaTauri will be a team to watch throughout the 2023 Formula 1 season, as they could have a heated battle brewing in their garage. After Pierre Gasly’s departure to Alpine at the conclusion of last season, Nyck de Vries was chosen to fill the void.

There are multiple factors that could fuel the battle as we move forward this season. De Vries, despite only earning his first full-time seat in Formula 1, has support from many in that he can be the lead driver for AlphaTauri right from the get-go.

After making his debut for Williams at Monza last season, filling in for Alex Albon, he surprised many by finishing in the points, despite driving the grid’s worst car.

That definitely boosted his odds of finding his first full-time seat in Formula 1.

“Yuki [Tsunoda] is still young and doesn’t have that experience technically, so Nyck can lead the team,” said Red Bull’s Helmut Marko after de Vries was signed. “We’ll see how it goes next year in practice, but judging by his experiences and personality, Nyck should be the team leader.”

While Marko’s statement does have some truth to it, with de Vries being six years older than Tsunoda and having been around Formula 1 for numerous years now, AlphaTauri going with Tsunoda leading the team to start is right.

Tsunoda was promoted as AlphaTauri’s primary driver after watching Gasly’s footsteps in recent years. But with a bigger role, there are also a set of different expectations set for Tsunoda.

AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost laid out those expectations.

“Last year, Yuki struggled with the car,” Tost admitted. “This year, as I expect we will have quite a competitive car, Yuki must always aim to be in Qualifying 3 and finish the races in the points. He is a very highly skilled driver and now has a lot of experience with two seasons in Formula 1. For this reason, of course, he has to score many more points than he did last year.”

Tsunoda has been on an upward trend ever since he entered Formula 1, and AlphaTauri expect him to produce results as the team’s sights are set on this season’s midfield battle. On the flip side, de Vries has the personality to lead and the talent to succeed. The two drivers differ in many ways, but having them go head to head on the grid with a lot at stake will turn many heads.

The two have not had the chance to battle on the grid just yet, but de Vries is definitely eyeing the role that Tsunoda holds. For the Japanese driver, his future is on the line as his contract with AlphaTauri expires at the end of this season, so his performances will hold quite a lot of weight. De Vries, on the other hand, will be looking to drive Tsunoda out of this team.

But after the team’s first performance in Bahrain, things are going seemingly as AlphaTauri expected them to. Tsunoda was fighting for points, finishing in 11th place, and de Vries finished in 14th.

As the Dutchman becomes more comfortable, the battle is only going to heat up. Expect to see the drivers arguing on the radio with the team and dogfighting it out until they cross the checkered flag.

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The battle is only just getting started at AlphaTauri. What will go down in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix at Jeddah Corniche Circuit on Sunday, March 19? ESPN is set to broadcast the race live beginning at 1:00 p.m. ET, so begin a free trial of FuboTV and don’t miss it!