AlphaTauri undergoes ‘mass reduction’ with new car evolution
By Ian Parkes
Monday 13th February, 2023 - 3:05am
AlphaTauri technical director Jody Egginton has revealed the team’s latest F1 challenger has undergone ‘mass reduction’ in a bid to atone for a woeful 2022.
Following a superb 2021 in which AlphaTauri finished sixth in the constructors’ standings and scored a team-high 142 points since joining Formula 1 in 2006, much was expected of the Italian-based squad last year.
But rather than taking a step forward with the new aerodynamic regulations with its AT03, the team dropped to a lowly ninth in the standings due to developing an overweight car which it struggled with throughout the campaign.
Although AlphaTauri only unveiled a new livery in New York on Saturday night, Egginton feels lessons have been learned with the AT04 which he naturally hopes will come to fruition this season.
“The AT04 layout and chassis development started quite early in 2022 and wind tunnel development started around July,” said Egginton. “The initial concept was being worked on by our Future Car group before then.
“Nearly every area of the car is a strong evolution from the AT03 with, on the layout side, a strong focus on packaging in order to provide the best basis for aero development.
“We learned a lot from the AT03 along the course of its development, and much of what we learned has gone forward into the general layout of the AT04 to address some of the weaknesses we identified from last year’s car.
“In simple terms, we were lacking a little bit of downforce compared to our main competitors and there was an opportunity for mass reduction.”
Porpoising ‘less of an issue’ – Egginton
In a bid to reduce the phenomenon known as porpoising which was a side-effect of last year’s regulations, rules were changed after the summer break.
For this season, the height of the floor has been raised by 15mm which is set to have an effect on the level of downforce generated by the cars.
That may potentially offset any gains AlphaTauri has made in recovering lost downforce from last year.
Assessing the impact of the rules update for this season, whilst Egginton confidently expects porpoising “to be a lot less of an issue this year”, he added: “The increase in floor-edge height in the regulations will have meant teams have lost some aero performance.
“However, this will be recovered in the aero development process.
“But I also think that fundamentally, the sensitivity of the cars to porpoising should be reduced with this change so I expect to see recovery of the load, but with less risk of getting back into the situation where porpoising becomes a major issue.”
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