AlphaTauri technical director Jody Egginton has vowed the team will not compromise its 2022 programme in a bid to extract the untapped potential of this season's car.
Heading into the season-opening race in Bahrain after testing, AlphaTauri suggested its AT02 had the capability to challenge at the head of the midfielder behind lead duo Mercedes and Red Bull.
The team's results, however, have failed to live up to such billing as it has collected just eight points from the first two races to significantly trail McLaren and Ferrari in the early constructors' standings.
But any suggestion the team will delay its switch to 2022 when there is a major rules overhaul to push its way to the front of the midfield this season have been dismissed.
"Not in my mind, in all honesty," replied Egginton on the situation.
"As good as all of this is, 2022 is a massive project and personally as the leader of the technical group, I don't feel there is any compromise to be had on next year's car.
"The challenge is to maximise the resource on this car as long as we have on it, and as we migrate resources to the other car, but I don't feel I will be in a position to say we push more on 2021, 2022 is the net result.
"It is a balancing act for all the teams. There is a lot of resource in the team, we are on the 2022 car already so we are not putting all our eggs in one basket.
"We are trying to get better every year. We look better than last year and last year was better than the year before. The same is true for 2022.
"We want to take the next step and I don't think it would be accepted if we turn around and say we want to compromise next year."
Although AlphaTauri failed to maximise its potential in Bahrain and Imola, Egginton is in no doubt the team is "firmly in the midfield at the moment".
Insisting its current fifth place in the constructors' standings is its target, which would represent a high for the team in its history, Egginton added: "That is what we are aiming for.
"Whether we are solidly there or not yet, it is too early to say. I feel the car is more competitive.
"We have achieved our technical objectives over the winter and they were targeting closing the gap, making the car better performing and getting a wider operating range.
"So we are on that journey, whether we are there, I wouldn't be naive enough to say 'Watch this space'. We seem to have taken a step at the moment."
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