Exploring the latest F1 car revamps at AlphaTauri and Alpine

AlphaTauri made significant changes to its sidepod bodywork at the Singapore Grand Prix aimed at lifting performance now and getting a better baseline for its 2024 Formula 1 car. 

Liam Lawson, AlphaTauri AT04

The new bodywork continues to employ the downwash ramp concept that AlphaTauri has been using since the start of this regulatory era. However, it also blends some concepts seen elsewhere on the grid along with a few of its own tricks. 

The high and shallow bodywork that leads off from the rearward swept inlet already had a swage line and drop off section on the upper surface, but this has become more pronounced due to the other changes aft of it. 

Meanwhile, a much more substantial undercut is present, while the bodywork beneath the main sidepod body abruptly tapers outwards to accommodate the internal components. 

It then quickly cuts back in under the main body, which should provide some additional assistance to the floor's edge, which has also been modified. 

The rear upper portion of the sidepod is characterised by a more pronounced hunch on the shoulder that will help to mimic the same sort of effect that others have been experiencing with the gulleys they have incorporated into their bodywork. 

There were also changes to the engine cover bodywork, with the cannon-like cooling outlets above the rear suspension elements having been increased in size, whilst the suspension fairings themselves have also been modified.  

AlphaTauri AT04 technical detail
AlphaTauri AT04 technical detail

This is in combination with changes made to the size of the rear brake duct inlet and outlet in order that they improve flow to the upper winglet cascade.  

Allied to the floor changes, modifications have also been made to the diffuser, with the sidewall mouse house cutout altered in order to extract the performance benefits generated upstream.   

Alpine also arrived in Singapore with a suite of new parts that included revised sidepod bodywork and a new mirror assembly.  

The main change to the sidepods comes to the size and shape of the inlet, with Alpine making the switch to the underbite arrangement, whereby the lower leading edge protrudes more so than the upper edge. It is a design Red Bull has championed since the beginning of this regulatory era and has since been copied by the likes of McLaren

As part of this change, the Enstone-based outfit has also opted to switch from a more rectangular inlet to a more rounded and swept alternative, similar in many ways to the designs used by many of its rivals. 

Consequently there are also changes to the shape and size of the undercut, whilst a large swage line and drop off have been added to the upper surface of the sidepod bodywork, which will have an impact on the airflow’s passage to the gulley that had been added several races ago. 

Alpine A523 sidepods mirror detail
Alpine A523 technical details

Meanwhile, the team has opted for an aggressive design profile for its wing mirror, with the over-the-top slat-style stalks abandoned and two large vortex generators mounted atop the revised and enlarged mirror housing. 

There were also changes to the A523’s front wing and more specifically the metalwork and bracketry used to ensure the flaps both pivot as expected when adjusted, and also provide a structural connection between the consecutive sections.  

Given the brackets hadn’t been moved positionally, the alterations were more likely a response from the team to ensure that the wing was compliant with a technical directive issued by the FIA, which seeks to reduce any flexion that might be present when the car is in motion but is undetectable in the static tests. 

Alpine also revised the cooling panel on the side of the engine cover, increasing the number of gills being used, whilst reducing their height when compared with the layout used at Monza (right). 

Engine cover on the Alpine A523
Alpine A523 technical detail
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