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Formula 1 Miami GP

Alpine's 2024 F1 car finally hits minimum weight limit

Alpine’s A524 Formula 1 car will run at the minimum weight limit for the first time this 2024 season at the Miami Grand Prix, as part of the team’s urgent upgrade plan.

Alpine A524 detail

The Enstone-based team has endured a torrid start to the new campaign as the A524 was initially off the pace and lacking downforce amid its major off-season concept change, running extra bodywork weight to pass a specific crash test and down on engine power compared to the Honda, Mercedes and Ferrari units with the Renault power Alpine uses.

It is one of three teams yet to score – alongside Williams and Sauber.

At the last round in China, Alpine introduced a fast-tracked floor upgrade, which also got the A524 closer to F1’s minimum weight limit, but was still only “nearly there” – per team technical director (performance) Ciaron Pilbeam.

Now, with the floor upgrade applied to Pierre Gasly’s car in Miami after it only ran on Esteban Ocon’s A524 in Shanghai, the team’s additional weight-saving push on new parts means it has finally got back to the weight target.

Alpine team principal Bruno Famin claimed “we were not particularly overweight” at the start of the year with the A524, but confirmed the new weight savings meant in pace-gain terms it added up to “a matter of 0.2s”.

“The fight is so tough now that every gain, every small gain, is good to make and this is what we are doing,” Famin told Autosport in an exclusive interview at the Miami race.

“The weight – people talk a lot about the car being overweight – it was not the major problem of the car.

Alpine A524 detail

Alpine A524 detail

Photo by: Filip Cleeren

“The major problem of the car is that we lacked downforce and we had difficulties to make the tyres work for quali.

“Better to get the minimum weight but it was not the major issue.

“This issue has been solved faster than expected and I’m happy with the direction of the team – pushing hard to do everything faster.

“In Shanghai, we had the new floor, we were supposed to have the new floor only here in Miami, we have been able [to] with the guys at the factory pushing hard to make one for Shanghai.

“It’s a good sign, but it’s a small part of the gap we need to fill. And it will take time.”

When asked to expand on Alpine’s plan to recover back up the F1 pecking order – after it moved to a three-pillared technical department structure in the early stage of the season that is now being headed by new technical director David Sanchez following his surprise early exit from McLaren – Famin said: “Part of the plan is being implemented – because we know that the car was a bit overweight at the start of the season.

“Now, here for the first time and faster than planned and scheduled, we will have the two cars at the minimum weight.

Alpine A524 detail

Alpine A524 detail

Photo by: Filip Cleeren

“We brought two upgrades on the aerodynamic side [this season]. But we know that all of this is only part of the way we need to do.

“Now, with the new organisation in place, with David arriving yesterday, we will move to the next step. For the time being, it’s a bit early to talk about it.”

Speaking in Miami on Thursday, Ocon said the A524’s handling was “clearly better with the weight [loss]”.

“We clearly gained good performance with that,” he added.

“In terms of the rest, obviously, it was a small step towards the right direction. That is very clear, but we know it's not quite enough yet.

“We're able to fight with other cars a bit more closely. But we're still lacking a decent amount of performance in qualifying.

“And that's still the place that we need to be working on and focusing on with the overall performance of the car.”

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