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What's behind Alpine's wavy front wing upgrade for F1's Hungarian GP

Alpine's upgrade push has raised some eyebrows at Formula 1's Hungarian Grand Prix with the reveal of a bold wavy front wing design.

Alpine A523 front wing detail

Alpine A523 front wing detail

Giorgio Piola

It follows the more substantial changes that the team made to its front wing's architecture at the British Grand Prix, signifying the position that this new upper flap design fills in the downforce hierarchy.

What has appeared at the Hungaroring is clearly an option that should fall on the higher end of its downforce selection chart.

The update introduced at Silverstone incorporated a wider moveable flap section for the two uppermost flaps, and it's this that's allowing this wave-shaped trailing edge to be employed.

The peaks of the wing element appear to point out across the tyre, and this should help to generate the desired load but also assist with the team's general outwash goals.

Comparing the old (below) and new (main photo, above) front wings, there's now more of a focus on generating outwash, with the entire makeup of the wing altered to achieve this.

The chord length of the mainplane has been increased at the endplate end, whilst the chord length of the three flaps thereafter has been reduced.

This tightens the gapping between each flap at the endplate juncture and results in each of the elements becoming more tightly wound.

Modifications have also been made to the diveplane, which is still an S-shaped variant but has been lifted into a higher position and reprofiled to suit the new locale.

Alpine A523 technical detail

Alpine A523 technical detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The pod used to house the infra-red tyre monitoring camera has also been moved to a lower position that also requires a more upwards angle, albeit this probably has more to do with the aerodynamic properties it poses in this position, rather than the view it provides.

There are also changes at the inboard end of the wing, with the moveable sections of the upper flap increased in width, as the pivots move closer to the side of the nose.

In turn, the non-moveable section has narrowed and the shape of the flaps has been altered as a consequence.

Similarly, the leading edge of the mainplane and the second flap have been re-contoured to take the associated changes into account and provide the necessary assistance for flow around the wing and nose section.

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It's not the first time Alpine has deployed what might seem like a bizarre trailing edge design, with a notched variant utilised alongside its older specification front wing layout.

This design feature might have emboldened Alpine to press on, albeit with both variants offering something a little different at either end of the downforce spectrum.

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