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A genius move? Alfa Romeo create Ferrari Red Bull hybrid

A genius move? Alfa Romeo create Ferrari Red Bull hybrid

A genius move? Alfa Romeo create Ferrari Red Bull hybrid

A genius move? Alfa Romeo create Ferrari Red Bull hybrid

Alfa Romeo became the fourth team to unveil its 2023 F1 challenger when taking the covers off the C43.

The Swiss-based Sauber team enters its final year with Alfa Romeo before sights turn towards 2026 and Audi, with Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu leading the charge.

But whilst the previous launches have been low-key affairs when it comes to the detail included on the presented cars, Alfa Romeo has shown off plenty of detail on the C43.

It seems the technical department has taken on multiple aerodynamic solutions from the first season of F1's new regulations, so what has the launch shown?

Front of the car relatively unchanged... for now

Alfa Romeo flew out of the gates last season with an impressive run of results - Bottas regularly the best of the rest behind Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes.

A lack of resources clearly hampered the Hinwil-based outfit, with a string of non-points finishes and reliability issues dropping the team down the pecking order.

A late-season development of the front end, including the front wing, proved fruitful as Alfa Romeo awoke from a mid-season slumber and the success of the update meant the technical department, led by Jan Monchaux, could switch focus to other areas.

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"We developed quite late into the season last year and we brought a front wing to Suzuka, if I remember well," said technical director Monchaux.

"So front end is more difficult in terms of development in the numerical world and the wind tunnel.

"The return on investment is smaller - it doesn't mean there is no performance, as long as we are not first on the timing sheets, we have performance to grab everywhere.

"But since you have got limited wind tunnel runs to test, you are also limited on resources, at some point you have to make a strategic call on where am I investing the majority of my resources.

"I am more in favour of doing one thing properly than starting five different dishes and ending with solutions that are just marginally better."

Insinuating changes to the front end will be made by the time the C43 hits the track, Monchaux added: "So the front end, don't worry, we have been working on and there will be significant changes presented at least at the start of the season.

"But generally speaking for us, it is an area we struggle more to put performance because of the constraints of the regulation than the floor, which offers a lot more freedom."

Rear end takes Red Bull, Ferrari inspiration

The most striking developments have been made from the midsection of the C43 and back.

The aggressive Red Bull-style sidepod ramp creates downwash towards the rear section of the floor, manipulating the airflow to pay dividends further down the car's aerodynamic journey.

A team taking inspiration from the world championship-winning constructor is no surprise, so it makes sense that the Red Bull-esque parcel shelf is found on the engine cover, creating a two-step bodywork configuration.

What is fascinating is the inclusion of the Ferrari-style scalloped top face of the sidepods, with the bodywork swooping inwards and back out to create a 'bathtub'.

The marrying of two styles that clinched the top two positions in last season's constructors' standings could prove to be a genius move for Alfa Romeo.

Of course, the fact the team runs Ferrari engines makes the scalloped sidepod with the cooling louvres an understandable addition.

On the major changes, Monchaux explained: "We have been seeing the evolution of the new cars, the new regs last year and had to acknowledge there were better solutions to manage the flow to the diffuser, the flow to the rear tyres.

"But because of the decisions we had made on an architectural point of view, we were stuck in a corner.

"We have effectively been doing the changes, as you will notice, on the rear axis.

"We have a different cooling arrangement and this opens the door for quite a change for us in terms of bodywork and how we handle the hot air coming from the radiators compared to last year's car.

READ MORE: Bottas demands 'more' after 2022 Alfa Romeo decline

"It is not a revolution. Similar solutions were on the grid already last year but it is something we couldn't implement without a major change of the architecture."

Monchaux also revealed extensive revisions to the rear suspension and, in turn, the gearbox casing.

On the floor, the C43 sports an aggressively cut floor edge which aims to add to the downwash effect and negate the loss of downforce through the regulation tweaks made for the year.

Roll hoop solution

FIA regulations have changed to ensure roll hoops do not fail like Alfa Romeo's did during Zhou's terrifying incident at the British Grand Prix last year.

But whilst it is now dictated that hoop designs must be rounded, the team has been forced to keep a blade-like design due to the lateness of the changes in the development process.

The team has combated this issue with bodywork around the roll hoop itself to try and dissuade the digging effect caused by last year's blade.

Livery sets out developing trend

The white of last year's livery has been substituted for black on Alfa Romeo's new design.

Looking at the black seen for Haas and Williams in particular, F1's newest trend has fully arrived.

With weight issues dominating technical headlines last season, teams are searching for any solution that will save on that front.

Whilst paint may be light - perhaps a matter of a couple of hundred grams across the entire car - every little helps and that is why black is the colour of choice this year.

Where black is featured on a design, paint will simply be stripped so that bare carbon fibre is on show, therefore saving weight.

This is just another example of the attention to detail F1 teams go to in order to extract the maximum performance.

READ MORE: February 2023: Key dates for your diary


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