Alpha Step with Front Wing: 2023 Old Chassis?

Alpha Step with Front Wing: 2023 Old Chassis?

Alfa Romeo again failed to score points at Suzuka. Aston Martin is getting closer to the Swiss Racing Team. At least the new front wing brought satisfactory results. In Austin, Alpha wants to improve the underbody. There is an important question regarding the chassis for the coming season.

The threshold melts. Alfa Romeo is just seven points ahead of Aston Martin after the Japanese GP. The British Racing team has scored 20 points in the last two Grands Prix. The last nine of their 29th alpha are credited with only one point in this period. The Swiss team has 52 points four races before the end of the season. 51 of them competed in the Canadian GP, ​​the ninth race of the season.


The advantages of the first half of the season are over. At the start of the season the C42 was at a minimum. down too. This allowed engineers to work with ballast to better balance the car. Meanwhile, the weight gain has subsided. Many contestants have lost ten kilograms or more over the years. That alone brought in the three-and-a-half tenths that Alpha no longer had in reserve. Second drawback: Alfa-Sauber is no longer so accurate with tyres.


XPB

The new front wing makes the C42 faster.

Underbody Update for Austin

Hinville put pressure on development in the early stages. It paid off. Then there was a prolonged lull as far as new developments were concerned. Opponents caught up. Alpha does not eliminate budget caps. The upper limit should be around ten million US dollars in 2022. There is no money for development. And a small team can’t make parts so quickly.

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At GP Japan, Sauber followed closely for the first time. Engineers shortened the nose, so they had to go through a crash test again. And they baked a new front wing. There were also new parts in the invisible realm. In Austin they want to improve the underbody. Little things, as they say.


The new front end brought satisfactory progress. “In general, this increases the overall contact pressure somewhat. And it gives us a better balance between the slow and fast corners,” explains operations manager Xavi Pujolar. Still no points. Neither qualifying nor the race went according to plan. In qualifying, the electric motor in Valtteri Bottas’ car was not producing enough power between turns seven and eight. The problem with ERS cost speed – and significant fractions on the clock. Bottas missed 53 thousandth place in the third quarter.


Front wing needs fine tuning

One weak point is the beginning. Finn almost always lags behind. partially dramatic. At Suzuka he dropped from twelfth to 14th. Neither Bottas nor Guanyue Zhou really had anything to do with scoring in the wet race. They finished 15 and 16.


Alfa-Sauber will have to score again in the last four races. Otherwise Aston Martin threatens to slip in the final sprint. Falling back to seventh place in the World Team Championship would cost Alpha millions of dollars in bonuses. It hurts doubly for a team working under budget. With millions for sixth place, you will be operating at maximum cost in 2023. Next year the budget cap will also be reduced slightly.

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The new front wing required fine tuning. Because it affects the flow from front to back. Suzuka’s practice on Friday failed. “Actually, we wanted to drive along the flow grid. We could have forgotten that,” Pujolar explains. The fact that the update still works fine has to do with good preparation. “Our drivers drive a lot of it in the simulator.”


Tools provide reliable data. It is painful for Alfa-Sauber that the second practice session in Austin is being declared a tire test. And that too in Mexico. This further limits the practice time for fine-tuning.

Valtteri Bottas - Alfa Romeo - Japanese GP 2022 - Suzuka

XPB

The C42 premise is correct: will Alfa-Sauber also take over the chassis for the coming season?

New chassis or not?

Not all teams have reached the weight limit yet. For example, the big guys like Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes are called even more. Mercedes is apparently still quite a long way off. If that happens to you, you can slim down in the winter with the new lightweight chassis. Red Bull is said to have already built one, but has not used it yet.


Teams whose cars scratch the minimum weight will think twice about baking a new chassis. Two or three kilos can be taken off in other ways as well. The temptation is greatest for those who are already down and working with ballast. Alpha-Sauber is one of them. Here you are faced with the question whether it would not be better to avoid building a new chassis altogether. And the money is better invested in other areas of vehicle development.

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Engineers Have to Decide: Where’s the Smartest Place to Put the Money? What gets the most lap time? How much leeway is left with the current architecture, for example, to be able to play with the arrangement of the cooler, should one come up with something there during development. Nothing will change on the power unit. It has been homosexual since September.


The decision – whether to have a new chassis or not – would have actually already been made. Load-bearing components such as monocoques have longer lead times. They are approved for the next season around October. No team will cheat. Fans will have to wait until productions in February 2023. And then they have to expect the teams to actually communicate it.


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