Tsunoda set for extra pre-season test mileage

AlphaTauri looks set to hand rookie Yuki Tsunoda some extra pre-season running at Imola in an old Formula 1 car ahead of his first race.

With F1’s official pre-season testing programme cut back to just three days in Bahrain, teams are mindful about how little opportunity there will be for drivers to get up to speed ahead of the new campaign.

That counts for those drivers swapping seats, and is especially true for a rookie like Tsunoda, who will want as much preparation time as he can get.

AlphaTauri is therefore planning to use the opportunity to test an older car during some running at Imola as its pre-season plans take place.

Motorsport.com understands that the Faenza-based team is planning two separate sessions at Imola for both its drivers, as well as to try out its new car.

It is set to run next week (January 27 and 28) with an older spec car to allow Tsunoda some extra mileage as part of his build-up programme. Pierre Gasly could also get some mileage too.

The team is then expected to return to Imola for a second run between February 23 to February 25, which will likely include a filming day for its 2021 challenger.

While teams are limited to just three days of official testing, the rules do allow for two ‘Promotional Event’ days where they can run their contemporary cars.

These tests are limited to a maximum of 100 kilometres and teams can only use special filming day tyres for this evaluation.

AlphaTauri’s 2021 challenger will use the same chassis as last year’s AT01 but will have heavily revised aerodynamics, in part because of new floor rules that have been introduced in a bid to cut downforce.

It is believed the new car will feature a more narrow nose, which the outfit has had to use development tokens for. However the team has elected not to go down the route of using the full rear end of the RB16 as the rules did allow.

AlphaTauri will stick with Honda power units for the Japanese manufacturer’s final official campaign in F1.

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