F1 2023 cars have recovered half a second

F1 rule changes for 2023 have cost teams half a second per lap

F1 rule changes for 2023 have seen teams claw back half a second per lap

Alfa Romeo technical boss Jan Monchaux has suggested aerodynamic rule changes for the 2023 F1 season have allowed teams to recover half a second per lap.

The floor edges have been raised this year, as has the throat of the diffuser under the car as the FIA moved to reduce the chances of cars porpoising.

New rules introduced for 2022 saw a return to ground effect for the first time in four decades and brought with it an aerodynamic phenomenon colloquially referred to as ‘porpoising’.

As cars build up speed, the suction under them increases, compressing the suspension.

However, depending on conditions, car set-up, and the configuration of the circuit, the airflow under the car would stall.

This would see the suction effect stop, at which point the car would rise on its suspension.

The airflow then reattaches, and the process starts again.

Concerns over the impact that was having on drivers prompted changes mid-year, with a limit placed on the ‘level of vertical oscillations’ cars could experience.

While that was designed as a temporary in-season fix, the floor and diffuser changes are more permanent solutions.

Impact of F1  rule change

“The rule change, came with, let’s call it half a second per lap time loss, which I think now we’ll assume is more or less plus minus a tenth the same everywhere,” explained Monchaux.

“I have no doubt that most of the teams will have recovered those losses.

“It’s a matter of how much more have you been able to put on to the car for the start of the season.

“But even more importantly for us, how much more you can put during the season because we started very strong last year and at some point struggled a bit more to also bring performance to the car.”

Alfa Romeo finished sixth in the 2022 constructors’ championship, tied on points with a resurgent Aston Martin but ahead on countback.

The bulk of the Swiss operation’s success came in the opening third of the year. It added just four points to its total after a double-points result at the Canadian Grand Prix in June.

Lessons from 2022

“If there’s one thing we also learned last year is that the season is not over until the last lap in Abu Dhabi because it’s the last lap where we finished P6 with, what, half a second ahead of [Aston Martin driver Sebastian] Vettel,” Monchaux said.

“And we had our highs, we had downs but also, as a team, and this I think was very clear from all the reviews we’ve been doing, we can’t give up.

“Race one will be what it is,” he added.

“Maybe it would be very good, maybe we’ll be a bit disappointed. Yeah, okay, turn the page, they’re still 22 races.

“I’ve no doubt that these guys [drivers Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu], but also the team at home, the 500 people, will be pushing very hard to then recover what needs to be recovered – if it is – or build an advantage if we would be at the higher end of the midfield.”

Alfa Romeo has already been on track with its 2023 car, the C43, performing a shakedown.

It will join the other nine teams for three days of pre-season testing in Bahrain next week on February 23-25, ahead of the opening race of the year at the same location from March 3-5.

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