Formula One

Helmut Marko confirms name change for Alpha Tauri – Another change for the Faenza squad

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Photo by XPB / Icon Sport

The future of Alpha Tauri has been hotly speculated in the past few months, with both the name, the structure and the purpose of the team in question, and Helmut Marko provided answers regarding the matter.

A couple of months ago, it was announced that long-time Franz Tost, who has been the team principal ever since the squad was purchased by Red Bull, will be replaced by current deputy team principal at Ferrari and former FIA safety director, Laurent Mekies. He won’t be the only addition to Alpha Tauri, as Peter Bayer will be its new Chief Executive Officer. He formerly was also at the FIA, as its Secretary General for Sport and F1 Executive Director.

The advisor to both of Red Bull’s Formula 1 teams, Helmut Marko, spoke to Kleine Zeitung on the future of Alpha Tauri and had this to say:

Alpha Tauri will have two new leaders in Laurent Mekies and Peter Bayer from 2024. There will be new sponsors and also a new name. The orientation is clear: based on Red Bull Racing, as far as the regulations allow. Do-it-yourself constructions are the wrong way.

This will mark another name change, with the previous rebranding having taken place following the 2019 campaign. So, with this opportunity, let’s look at the different names and forms of the team that comes from the small Italian town of Faenza.

A brief look in the history of Alpha Tauri

The squad started life, and in fact spent most of its history, as Minardi. It started racing in 1980 at the European Formula Two championship, run by Giancarlo Minardi, who was previously operating the racing department of his family’s car business. It stayed there for five seasons and claimed a singular victory, by Michele Alboreto in 1981.

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Photo by Hoch Zwei / Icon Sport

Ahead of 1985, Minardi made the big step up and joined Formula 1. It was a backmarker, as evidenced by the fact that it did not score any points until its fourth season in the sport. Despite sporadic appearances in the points finishing positions, its “always fighting” spirit made the team one of the most loved minnows in Formula 1 history. Its best season came in 1991, when a pair of fourth-place finishes by long time driver Pierluigi Martini propped the team up to seventh in the standings. In 346 entries, it scored 38 points in total and claimed no podium finishes but became a memorable competitor, with the aforementioned Pierluigi Martini, Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber having driven for the squad.

It all changed in 2006, when the team was purchased by Red Bull and became Toro Rosso, which is the translation of “Red Bull” in Italian. It would be the second team entered by the energy drinks company and its owner, Dietrich Mateschitz, with a main goal of serving as its feeder team and helping in the development of drivers from its academy.

It certainly achieved its goal, helping promote Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo, Daniil Kvyat, Max Verstappen, Pierre Gasly and Alexander Albon to its senior team, with a few of those drivers going on to achieve major success. Vettel also became the face of its most iconic moment, when he won the 2008 Italian Grand Prix in one of the biggest underdog stories in the sport’s history. This race was the first of three podiums for the team, the other two coming eleven years later.

In 2020, the team was rebranded as Scuderia Alpha Tauri, to help promote Red Bull’s fashion brand. In that year’s race at Monza, Pierre Gasly gave the squad another improbable victory at the venue. The following year, a podium at Baku marked the last visit on the podium to date, in the midst of its most successful F1 season.

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