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Matt Somerfield

How new Alfa Romeo F1 car merges Red Bull and Ferrari's ideas

While it's clear to see that the C43 harbours some influence from its predecessor, there's also a plethora of new features to discuss too.

These are not only important in terms of this car but also set the table in terms of the direction we might see others take heading into 2023 too.

The headline features we need to focus on are the sidepods and floor edge.

The sidepods in particular seem to take inspiration from both Red Bull and Ferrari, with the inlet size and shape very similar to what we saw from the Scuderia in 2022.

Alfa Romeo C43, detail (Photo by: Alfa Romeo)

Given its use of the Ferrari power unit, this might not seem unusual but, rather than appropriate the full bathtub style sidepod solution seen on the F1-75, Alfa Romeo has instead sought inspiration from Red Bull. This not only comes in the form of the downwash ramp solution but also the shelf approach taken with the engine cover.

It's a decision that not only revolves around aerodynamic gains though, with a trade-off made to accommodate a more efficient centreline cooling solution that the team couldn't switch to during the course of last season.

The team has also paired these changes with alterations to its rear suspension and gearbox, which will not only bear fruit from a mechanical point of view but also work in harmony with the other aerodynamic design changes, especially noting the large undercut and tapering done to encourage the airflows passage into the coke bottle region.

You'll also note that to supplement the smaller rear cooling outlet at the rear of the car, the team has installed cooling gills on both the upper surface of the sidepod and on the shelf section of the engine cover.

It's likely we're seeing the car in more of a maximum cooling configuration in these shots, as other teams that took this direction last season often didn't have these gills open at all times, using interchangeable bodywork panels as a means to make those changes.

Alfa Romeo C43, detail (Photo by: Alfa Romeo)

The beam wing has also been treated to a new geometry, as we find a wavy trailing edge of the upper flap, similar to the tubercle-like solution we saw McLaren use on its rear wing in 2014.

The floor's edge is also a departure from what we saw last season, which is primarily a response to the change in regulation requiring a 15mm uplift.

Obviously, teams see these regulation changes as an opportunity, rather than bemoaning any advantages they may have lost as a consequence.

In Alfa Romeo's case, it has opted to run the forward and rear sections of the floor at the lower height that's still permitted, but in the middle, we find that the floor has been cut up into multiple flaps. These should work the airflow harder and help to bridge the performance gap that's opened up by the regulatory changes.

As we've seen in the past, while this seems like an interesting approach, this portion of the car is likely to evolve quite rapidly and it could even be an early version of what the team worked on.

The larger rear view mirrors that are required by the regulations have also manifested in a much wider assembly on the C43, with their body clearly tapered similarly to the sidepod below.

Alfa Romeo C43, detail (Photo by: Alfa Romeo)

Following the accident involving Guanyu Zhou at Silverstone last year, changes have been made to the regulations regarding the design of the roll hoops for 2023, with even more stringent regulations following for 2024.

As a consequence, some might have expected that the C43 would revert to a more conventional design. However, as explained by Jan Monchaux, it was a little late in the design cycle for that and the blade design could be optimised to suit.

Meanwhile, the most obvious difference between this and last year's car is the livery, with the team having taken advantage of the shift from white and red to black and red as a means to save some weight.

This was an approach taken by many of its rivals last season, as they stripped away segments of their livery to expose the bare carbon of the bodywork. This helped them to lower their car's overall weight and attempt to get closer to the minimum specified in the regulations.

The process likely only saved a handful of grammes but everything counts in terms of lap time. And, with a ground-up approach to this in terms of designing the livery, there's undoubtedly more that can be saved.

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