Alpha Tauri brought a fresh round of upgrades to Abu Dhabi, intensifying their battle with Williams for P7 in the constructor’s standings.
Heading into the final race of the season, Alpha Tauri confirmed that they would in fact be bringing their last batch of upgrades. Although the primary reason for this would be to assist with the development of their 2024 car, there’s no doubt that the upgrades would also provide them with one last opportunity to hunt down Williams for p7.
Tsunoda’s impressive qualifying
As qualifying commenced, it would be Yuki Tsunoda who would raise the hopes of Red Bull’s junior team and put pressure on Williams. Securing a p6 for the race start on Sunday, Tsunoda put his team in a strong position for the grand prix, whilst Williams failed to get up to speed with Albon only starting in p14 and Sargeant failing to get a time on the board in Q1.
The closely fought battle for P7 had, at one point in the season, looked like a surefire bet for Williams. They’d managed to haul themselves up toward the midfield and distance themselves from Haas, Alpha Tauri, and Alfa Romeo, who all found themselves at the bottom of the standings jostling for position.
However, in the latter stages of the season, Alpha Tauri would start to become an imminent threat, with Williams admitting that the progress of their closest rival was concerning.
Pipped to the post
On Franz Tost’s final F1 race, Tsunoda came so close to hauling the team up another position in the constructor standings, but his final result of a p8 would just fall short. Despite scoring no points in Abu Dhabi, Williams managed to retain a 3-point lead achieving their highest finishing position since 2017.
Both teams have had an unpredictable season and neither have been particularly consistent in 2023. The Williams car would come alive at certain tracks throughout the year but their success would leave just as quickly as it arrived. On the other hand, Alpha Tauri’s revolving door of drivers never allowed them to fully stamp out the instability and constant changes within the team.
2024 and beyond
The question remains whether Williams will be able to replicate the success they’ve had this year, or will Alpha Tauri be able to capitalize off of the momentum that built up toward the end of the season.
If this year was anything to go by, we’ll be in for another thrilling battle amongst the midfield next year, but at the moment it’s anyone’s guess as to who will come out on top.