Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe
Formula 1 Australian GP

How AlphaTauri F1 floor updates helped address a core weakness

AlphaTauri’s first Formula 1 points of the season in Australia may have been helped by the late race chaos, but the team was also boosted by progress from new upgrades.

Nyck de Vries, AlphaTauri AT04

Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis

Giorgio Piola is the preeminent Formula 1 technical journalist. Born in Genoa, Italy, Giorgio has covered the F1 World Championship since 1969, producing thousands of illustrations that have been reproduced in the world’s most prestigious motor racing publications.

After a disappointing start to the campaign, with its AT04 not making the step forward hoped for, the squad has worked hard to address areas where it felt it was especially lacking.

The first fruits of that labour appeared in Melbourne, where the team brought some key developments that it hoped would start it on a journey back nearer the front of the midfield pack. These were focused on the floor body, the floor fences, the floor edge and the diffuser.

Some of these new features cannot be seen easily, as they are hidden away underneath the car.

However, the team said the central section of the floor, upon which the plank is mounted, was made wider in two places along its length, while the transition around the rear crash structure has also been altered.

Alpha Tauri AT04 floor comparison

Alpha Tauri AT04 floor comparison

Photo by: Uncredited

Externally, we’re able to see where changes have been made to the outer floor fence (red arrow), while the height of the floor behind this area has been lowered to create a steeper ramp to the floor’s edge (blue arrow). 

The ‘cheese wire’ used to maintain legality on the floor’s edge and rolled-under features that aligned with it (red arrow) have also been eradicated. Thereafter, the rear section of the floor’s edge has been tweaked so it works with the floor edge wing to create a more consistent flow behaviour in a wider range of conditions.

The diffuser shape has also been altered to assist with the issues posed by tyre squirt while also helping to extract performance from the improvements upstream of it.

Technical director Jody Egginton explained that the changes were primarily focused on helping improve low-speed cornering performance.

“Obviously low-speed aero performance is a target in every team, and that's one of the targets we didn't quite nail pre-season,” he explained. “The updates we're bringing now, amongst some other things they're intended to do, are to improve low-speed entry stability.

“We're looking to make the car more stable in low-speed entry into corners, so then the drivers can push harder at late entry. There's performance to come from that. 

“So, this update here has been focused on improving performance in that area. To describe it in more detail, it's sort of the higher rear ride height performance of the floor. And it's taken us a step forward. 

“But you won't solve the problem with one component and one update. This is the first step.”

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT04

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT04

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

Although Yuki Tsunoda had to abandon running the new floor after the first day in Melbourne because he damaged it with an off, the team was encouraged by what it saw from its mileage with Nyck de Vries.

Egginton added: “It has delivered on expectation. We're quite happy with what it's done in terms of improving the performance of the car. So, this is in line with the expectation, and that's our baseline floor specification going forward. 

“But more importantly, it's only the first step in floor development. There is a lot more to come.”

Additional reporting from Adam Cooper

Read Also:

Be part of the Autosport community

Join the conversation
Previous article How the FIA found out about Crashgate at Brazil 2008 F1 finale, but could not act
Next article Piastri: First F1 points in "crazy race" was good karma for McLaren

Top Comments

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe