Formula 1 development by Alpine under budget

The Alps are just below the budget ceiling. Engineers would rather bring several small upgrades than one big upgrade. The focus is on the lower body. There is more value for money out there. This is why the A522 is such a jumble of small parts.

An account balance display is always included. Under the budget cap, every upgrade has to pay off. “The only thing that doesn’t work is the double loss,” Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto confirms. Because you can no longer reply. Even rich teams don’t have any resources left. At some point, the budget line will put an end to the arms race.


Alpine is one of the teams that nearly hit the $141.2 million limit. It looks like only $2 million is missing. With about 100 fewer employees than the big three teams, there is more money left to develop the car. And in fifth in the constructors’ championship, the wind tunnel time of Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren increased. “However, we have to pay attention to costs in everything we do,” stresses coach Pat Fry.


Wilhelm

Esteban Acon finished seventh in Barcelona. Teammate Fernando Alonso made his way from behind to ninth.

The bottom is cheaper than the wings

Alpine was one of the most active teams in the development race in the first six races. There were subtle changes practically every race. So far, the Fry team has followed a policy of taking small steps. The package in Barcelona remains one of the largest in the Alpine development programme. The front wing, rear wing and rear brake flap end panels were new.


The bottom remained the same this time. According to Fry, this is the biggest battlefield of the year. Not just because most of the times the courses are hidden there. Floor modifications are relatively inexpensive compared to other areas of the vehicle. “The front wing is the most expensive part. If you replace the entire wing, it will be 100,000 euros. Think carefully about whether the modification is useful or not. If a new profile in one part of the floor brings you more benefits, you decide to take the floor.”


So every development planned first must qualify for the race, even with accountants. “The expected improvement in lap time counts against costs. We’re back on the ground ten times more than the wings are. And if you have to choose between two kilograms of weight loss or four points of downforce, weight. That’s what you get guarantees for lap times,” As Fry says.


Pat Fry - Alpine - Formula 1 (2022)

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Pat Fry (right) is the CTO of the A522.

Hard bottom anti-rebound

A full floor would be as expensive as a front wing, but hardly any team changes the entire floorboard these days. Since this year it has been a jumble of many small pieces of the puzzle. Just like the side boxes and bonnet. In this way, limited modifications can be made locally quickly and inexpensively.


Alpine is one of the lucky teams that has relatively survived the jump. Frey acknowledges that this trait is partly an act of luck unrelated to Providence. “I’m too young for the first Earth Impact era. That’s why I dare not claim we fully understood it.” In the case of the Alps, Frey thinks it has a lot to do with the hardness of the soil. “We invested an additional 1.5 kg in the first version of our floor to be on the safe side.”


Weight is also an issue for the Alps. Fry admits that reaching the 798kg limit is a daunting task. “I can’t say when we will be able to do that. In the course of further development, the car can get heavier at times.” The next major change on Earth should bring at least two kilograms.


Another major construction site is the tire department. The alpine car is usually slower on Sundays than on Fridays and Saturdays. “We’re on it,” Fry promised. “It’s all about installation and tire management. We did some testing in Miami and got interesting answers. At Barcelona we want to take another step in that direction.” Good luck. For the first time this season, the Alps sped up better on Sunday than they did on Saturday.


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