Alfa Romeo explain key changes with ‘mean, sexy’ 2023 challenger
By Ian Parkes
Wednesday 8th February, 2023 - 3:26am
After nothing more than livery launches from Haas, Red Bull and Williams, Alfa Romeo finally gave F1 fans a true reveal and outlined what can be expected from its 2023 challenger.
In fairness, technical director Jan Monchaux did not show his full hand following the unveiling of the C43, naturally keeping some of his cards close to his chest for when the car will take to the track in pre-season testing in Bahrain from February 23-25.
Monchaux, however, offered enough in his comments to highlight the key changes that have been made to the car.
Last season, following the introduction of the new aerodynamic regulations, Alfa Romeo made a superb start to the season, with Valtteri Bottas scoring 46 points from the first nine grands prix.
The team, however, knew the C42 had limitations and from the midway point of the campaign, it became stuck in a rut from which there was no escape, ensuring that development and, in turn, points-scoring opportunities were severely limited.
By the end of the season, after finishing level on points with Aston Martin, it just managed to claim a valuable sixth place in the constructors’ standings by virtue of Bottas’ fifth in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
Explaining the technical aspects the team was forced to address, Monchaux said: “We identified areas where we saw there was still potential for us to unleash the potential that we were unable to unleash in the ’22 season.
“We concentrated mainly on the rear part of the car where we just wanted to be brave enough to do the next step in terms of pure development on the rear end, which opened the door to other solutions we couldn’t implement last year.”
Alfa Romeo focus on new rear
Specifically, with regard to the rear instability of the C42 through the faster corners, Monchaux added: “Seeing the evolution of the cars under last year’s regs, we had to acknowledge that there were better solutions of how to manage the flow to the diffuser, the flow going to the rear tyres.
“Because of a decision we had made from an architectural point of view, it meant we were stuck in a corner, so we’ve made changes to the rear axis which has allowed us to have a different cooler arrangement.
“This then opened the door to quite a change for us in terms of bodywork and how we handled the hot air coming from the radiators compared to last year’s car.
“So it’s not a revolution. Similar solutions were on the grid already last year, but it’s something we couldn’t implement without a major change of the architecture.”
The suggestion is the radiator area is now more on a central line, improving the airflow as mentioned by Monchaux, which was unable to be corrected last year due to budgetary constraints as a major design evolution was required that can now be seen on the C43.
Alfa Romeo forced to make strategic call on front end
Focusing on the rear, the front of the car is one area Monchaux and his team have spent less time on.
Primarily because Alfa Romeo at least introduced a new front wing for the Japanese Grand Prix last season, which resulted in a push back toward the top end of the midfield, and Bottas finally again scoring crucial points in Mexico City and São Paulo.
With regard to the emphasis placed on the front wing over the winter, Monchaux said: “We developed quite late into the season last year and brought a front wing in Suzuka.
“The front end is more difficult in terms of development in the numerical world, and in the winter, let’s say the return on investment is smaller, but it doesn’t mean there is no performance.
“As long as we are not first on the timing sheets, then we have performance to grab everywhere but since we’ve a limited amount of winter runs to test and also limited resources, at some point you need to make strategic calls as to where you invest the majority of the resources.
“I’m more in favour of doing one thing properly than starting five different dishes and then end up with solutions that are just marginally better.
“So the front end, don’t worry, we’ve been working on it and there will be significant changes presented at least at the start of the season.”
C43 is sexy but is it quick?
As to whether the changes will have an effect and whether what is a striking-looking car will be fast, as the saying goes, Monchaux smiled and said: “You’re asking the wrong person because it’s my baby.
“I won’t say it’s ugly. I find the car wellborn. It looks mean, not only the new geometries but also the livery which gives it an additional level of being mean.
“I find the car pretty sexy but then again, will it be quick enough? This we will see at the start of the season. Our hopes are high that we can continue where we ended the season and fight for those high positions in the midfield.
“But we need to be a bit patient. First, we have homework to do during the winter test, to also prepare for the first race, so we go step by step.”
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