AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost has set his sights on finishing top of the midfield pack for the new Formula 1 season.
The team enjoyed a stellar 2020 campaign, collecting its highest number of points in its history - including its former guises as Toro Rosso and Minardi - of 107 en route to finishing seventh in the constructors' championships standings.
There were occasions when it was battling McLaren, Racing Point, Renault and Ferrari in what was a congested midfield. For this season, Tost has set his team's sights high.
“In 2020 Scuderia AlphaTauri was a midfield team, we were fighting successfully against the other teams like McLaren, Renault and Racing Point," said Tost, on the day AlphaTauri revealed its 2021 challenger, the AT02.
"But our target for this year is to consistently be at the top of this midfield pack and to improve further.
"To achieve this, we have to avoid reliability issues and finish all races in the points.
"This can only happen if we do not make any mistakes, so we have to be 100% concentrated on our job, race after race, on and off the track, because our competitors are hard to fight."
AlphaTauri's points total last season was in part due to the superb Italian Grand Prix victory from Pierre Gasly, the team's first race win since Sebastian Vettel's triumph at Monza in 2008.
AlphaTauri has since chosen to replace Gasly's team-mate from last year, Daniil Kvyat, with rising Japanese star Yuki Tsunoda.
Extolling the virtues of what he has described as "an interesting driver pairing", Tost added: “We have an experienced driver and a rookie.
"I reckon Pierre is one of the strongest drivers in F1 nowadays. Pierre’s good technical understanding allows him to get the best out of the car.
"Pierre has been with the team for some time now, so he is familiar with all procedures and with our way of working, he will be a good leader, helping Yuki in
"He knows how to win a race - as he proved last year in Monza - and if we provide him with a competitive car, I expect him to be very successful this season.
"Then, we have Yuki, who finished third in the F2 championship and watching his races last year in F2 I must say he did a fantastic job, winning races and carrying out many impressive overtaking manoeuvres.
"Yuki has already completed some tests with us in an F1 car and I’m convinced that he will have a successful start in his F1 career, due to his natural speed and his talent.
“The decision to go for Pierre and Yuki in 2021 was taken because Scuderia AlphaTauri’s philosophy is still to give talented young drivers from the Red
Bull Junior Programme the opportunity to step up to F1 and to educate them – this is why Yuki now gets his chance.
"With Pierre on Yuki’s side we have an experienced driver, who can help our Japanese rookie to develop faster, but at the same time we can aim for good results.
"I think this pair is the best possible scenario to achieve both our targets and I’m also confident this will be a successful one.”
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