Alpha Tauri team principal Franz Tost has set the team a target of finishing in the top five of the constructors’ championship in 2020, given its growing experience.
Toro Rosso will be renamed Alpha Tauri this season as part of a desire from Red Bull to promote another one of its brands, and enters 2020 off the back of its most successful season in Formula 1. Finishing sixth last year and with the experienced driver pairing of Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly — who each picked up a podium — retained, Tost tells RACER the aim has to be to break into the top five, with Renault his main target.
“We never had such experienced drivers and it depends now how competitive the car will be,” Tost said. “I hope that we will do a step forward there as well and then the target is quite clear: We have to improve our performance and we have to finish in the top five in the constructors’ championship.
“I hope (Renault is in reach). It depends now who is building a better car. Who is making more progress with the new car and who is developing it in a better way during the season. I hope it will be Alpha Tauri.”
Despite a smaller budget compared to the likes of Renault and McLaren, Tost says he has confidence that the target is a realistic one given the developing technical partnership Alpha Tauri will enjoy with Red Bull.
“We improved in comparison to 2018 quite a lot in all the different areas. We were much better on the aerodynamic side, but also on the mechanical side thanks to Red Bull Technology, because we had the previous year’s suspension in the car — front and rear — the gearbox from them and the hydraulic system from them, which helped us a lot. It also helped the reliability, because I think we were second in those terms.
“We also made good progress with the vehicle performance, came up with some new solutions which improved the performance of the car. We had a better understanding of how to handle the tires and how to manage the tires, and the race team made some good steps forward. We had some really competitive pit stops as well, although there were some ups and downs that we have to improve. And we had at least three very good drivers!
“If you work together with a partner then over time you get a better understanding from both sides. I expect that we will get good cooperation this year and that the team will make another step forward thanks to Red Bull Technology.”