A look under the hood: Interview with Scuderia AlphaTauri’s Corrado Cardinali

Written by Jenna | 9 November 2023

For this fourth collaboration with Italian F1 racing team, Scuderia AlphaTauri, we’re taking a closer look at the mechanics of this well-oiled machine.

We sat down with Corrado Cardinali, Chief Mechanic of R&D Testing of the legendary team to talk about the respected STR11 and the significance of this model on and off the track.

Scuderia Toro Rosso STR11, Formula One car

Can you tell us what you do at Scuderia AlphaTauri in a few words?

I am Chief Mechanic for Historical Cars and R&D Testing. I am the person responsible for all the historical cars and the team memorabilia. 

Corrado Cardinali, Chief Mechanic of R&D Testing

What was your role on the team in 2016? 

In 2016, I was Chief Mechanic of R&D Testing.

Can you tell us what the STR11 is and what it means to you?

The STR11 is the 11TH car produced by Scuderia Toro Rosso (AlphaTauri’s former name). It was driven by Carlos Sainz Jr., Daniil Kvyat and Max Verstappen in the 2016 Formula 1 season.  

With Max’s recent success as F1 champion, the STR11 is the most valuable mockup car the team has in its warehouse. 

You introduced a new Ferrari unit to the car in 2016. In that respect, what were the biggest changes and challenges that came with building this car?

Every year is a new experience when assembling a car. Different engine suppliers have different requests, and the team has to adapt and work together with the engine manufacturer to deliver the most powerful car without compromising the aerodynamic performance. With the STR11, the team found a very good compromise.

What major upgrades were done on this car? 

Compared to the previous year, we did not have big upgrades on this car. The STR11 was the last car developed before a big tyre regulation change, so it’s the last car of its era.

Did the STR11 inspire something you still use now?

Every year we develop something that will then be used for the following seasons. Looking back at the STR11, there were a few areas that helped us improve that season that we’ve continued to develop, like some installations for systems and aerodynamics.

The hand-painted bull is a real piece of art, could you explain how the artist did it? How does Jos Pirkner interact with the team? Is it the last step?

As far as I know, Pirkner did the principle of the graphic, and the rest was done by us. We airbrushed the engine cover, sidepod, and monocoque. The small parts were fully painted in our paint shop.

The most difficult thing about developing a livery is creating the first model on the front and side of the car. We needed to project the livery to understand the correct shape without deforming the logos. It was a very long process, which usually took about three days to finish, but the livery during those years was always fantastic.

Hand-painted bull, STR11 Formula One car

What is a mockup/show car? How is it different from a car that runs on the track? 

The basic difference between our mockup car and our running cars is the monocoque. Even if the car is produced and assembled in our Faenza factory, the chassis is not used on the race track. All the other components are from race cars. They’re mostly over-run parts, but still original. 

How would you display this car?

The car would look fantastic in a ¾ view on a red carpet, with light grey panels as the background to make the red and blue colours of our Toro Rosso era shine – and some good lighting.


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