Technical director Jan Monchaux expands on the changes made by Alfa Romeo Sauber with their 2023 F1 car which is an evolution.
After the livery reveal for Haas, Red Bull and Williams, Alfa Romeo Sauber not only presented its new colours but also its 2023 F1 car with most of the changes they have been working on since last year and in the winter for the new season.
Technical chief Monchaux was quite candid too in expanding the changes they have had with a lot done on the rear part of the car. They couldn’t push enough with last year’s design and so brought the next step onto the car to open up new avenues.
On the front end side, Monchaux noted that it is not just Alfa Romeo but none of the F1 teams could do much with the front wing with the regulations providing only little to play with, but they could bring in changes around the floor which most worked with.
For the chassis too, Monchaux was a bit on a playful mood and put the onus on media to find out the differences which there are. Here’s the key points he made during the Alfa Romeo F1 car launch from Zurich –
Changes made to 2023 Alfa Romeo F1 car:
Jan Monchaux: “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. It opened the door to a lot of other solutions we couldn’t implement last year. The concept we had followed last year had come to a plateau. And to unleash the next level of performance we had to do all those changes. So that’s been quite a journey for us. Because it’s big, complex parts we had to redo. We’ve really been putting a lot of effort on the second part of the car, while the front will developed during the season.
”We have been just seeing also the evolution of the car with the new regulation last year and had to acknowledge that there were a better solution in how to manage the flow to the diffuser and the flow going to the rear tyres but because of the decision we had made on an architectural point of view, we had to…we were stuck in a corner, so we effectively have been doing the changes… you will by looking at the pictures you will notice on the rear axis as I explained earlier. We send a load 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 years car. So it is not a revolution but a similar solution we saw on the grid already last year but it was something we could not implement without a major change of the architecture and its also what we have been doing there. We also think from what we have seen, we have seen some of the weaknesses that we have from an aero point of view which was effectively in a very simplistic way, high speed performance has been also significantly improving, thanks to also the new potential which we unleashed with this new bodywork and this new way of working the floor between the rear tyres so.
“In terms of the reliability of the car, it has not run yet, so I just assume it will stay as this and we have spent a lot of effort and working hours to improve our processes internally, mainly on the cooler side, where we had a weakness last year at least in the first part of the season and touchwood I am fairly confident we have left these issues behind us.”
Front wing, floor –
Monchaux: “So yes we developed quite late in to the season in 2022 and brought a front wing which was in Suzuka, if I remember well. So front end is more difficult in terms of development in the numerical world and the wind tunnel. Lets say the return on investment is smaller. It doesn’t mean there is no performance. I mean as long as we are not first on the timing sheet, we have performance to grab everywhere, but since you have got limited amount of wind tunnel runs to test all you have to do, you are also limited with those resources, you need also to make strategy calls where I am investing the majority of my resources and I am more in favour of doing one thing properly than starting five different dishes with solutions that are just marginally better.
“The front end…don’t worry we have been working on and there will also be significant changes being presented at least at the start of the season but generally speaking for us is an area where we struggle more to put the performance because of the constraint of the regulation than on the floor which is offering a lot more freedom. So, when you look at last year what was done in the pit lane also, there is a clear sign that people have been working harder or bringing more update on the floor than on the front wing end. It is simply because it is more difficult to bring performance through the front wing with those rules but I’d say performance will be grand there is no doubt about that.”
New chassis or –
Monchaux: “The chassis we changed in some areas, I might be a bit mean but am inviting you to look at the pictures and, like my kids try to find seven differences between the chassis of last season and this season and depending on how many you can find, you will have the answer to the question. We build a new chassis and I am not going to tell you everything today but we can regroup in Bahrain and discuss the topic.”
Prefer clean sheet every year or evolution –
Monchaux: “Effectively as a small team, we like the challenge of a blank sheet of paper where I think we also showed last year in a limited amount of time that we were capable of doing things that were not too bad which means it is what we prefer, for your blood pressure and for the stress level, it is not the nicest because there is so much unknowns and up until you see what your competitors are doing, you are completely nervous as to going the wrong way and that can happen. The other drawback is the continuous evolution, it comes sometime to the experience of the team, the size of the team, the resource you have and they play a role and that is an area where we are a little less comfortable than the teams around us. If I could choose, I would like to start from scratch regularly.”
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