Pride in A523 Rear Development Expressed by Alpine’s Harman
Matt Harman, the technical director of Alpine, has expressed his sense of pride in the team’s achievements in designing the rear of their latest Formula 1 car, the A523.
During the launch of the new Alpine on Thursday night, Harman emphasized that the updated aerodynamics and suspension geometry were among the crucial areas that the team had focused on.
While the switch from a pullrod to pushrod rear suspension is a noticeable change, Harman hinted that there are other developments that the team has worked on which have not been seen yet. He suggested that these developments will become apparent when the car runs in testing.
When asked about his favorite aspect of the A523, Harman replied to The Race by saying, “I think we’ve done a good job with the rear of the car.”
Harman further explained that the team had worked extensively on the rear of the car, and that the full extent of their efforts will be more visible during testing in Bahrain. He indicated that the team had pushed themselves to the limit in this area.
According to Harman, the work on the rear of the car had presented the team with several challenges in terms of validation and other aspects.
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Despite the challenges that the team had faced during the development process, Harman expressed his pride in the final result, stating that the work on the rear of the car should prove to be beneficial for the team.
During the launch event, Harman explained that one of the reasons behind the switch from pullrod to pushrod rear suspension was to control the airflow to the rear in a more efficient manner. He also mentioned that this change aligned with an increased level of complexity in the inboard system, which would allow for better mechanical set-up adjustments to be made at the track.
In addition to the other benefits, the change in the rear suspension design has also allowed Alpine to reduce the weight of the car, bringing it below the weight limit. Harman pointed out that having a lighter car could be worth “35 milliseconds a kilo” in terms of performance. Furthermore, this weight reduction has given the team the flexibility to use ballast to adjust the weight distribution of the car.
Harman did not disclose the exact amount by which the A523’s weight is below the limit, but he hinted that it is multiple kilograms. He mentioned that Alpine would have been content with the originally planned weight limit of 796kg for 2023, but this was raised to 798kg over the winter.
Harman stated that one positive aspect of the weight reduction is that the team can use the extra weight allowance to enhance the car’s performance. He mentioned that the team could reinvest this weight saving into other areas that would benefit the car’s overall performance.
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According to Harman, the team has a range of ideas and options to utilize the extra weight allowance. He believes that they can make use of this opportunity to further develop the car, and there are several areas where they could invest the saved mass to enhance the car’s performance.
“We have many ideas and options for what we can do with the car to utilize that mass effectively.”
Harman emphasized that avoiding being at the same weight level as last year is crucial, as it would limit the team’s options in terms of track performance, weight distribution, and the addition of mechanical features that could improve the car’s balance. He believes that having a lighter car gives the team more flexibility to make changes and improvements that will positively impact the car’s overall performance.
“It’s crucial for us not to be in the same position as last year because it hinders our capabilities on the circuit, limits our options for weight distribution, and restricts the addition of features that can enhance mechanical balance, among other things.”
During the previous season, some teams had to make their cars heavier due to certain upgrades that were not as lightweight as the parts they replaced. This resulted in the teams struggling to maintain the weight of the car within the limit, which in turn affected the car’s performance on the track.
When asked by The Race if the weight reduction of Alpine’s car would provide more flexibility in terms of upgrades, Harman replied, “It does, it’s on two fronts.”
Harman explained that having a lighter car would enable the team to add new parts to the car more quickly, as they would not need to engineer them to the same degree of weight sensitivity. This would provide more flexibility in terms of upgrades, as they could be implemented more quickly and with less concern about the car’s weight distribution.
“That’s because it enables faster incorporation of parts into the car, since they don’t need to be engineered to such a high level.”
In addition to enabling faster upgrades, Harman also pointed out that having a lighter car would allow for a greater degree of modularity in the car’s design. This means that the team could accept a slightly sub-optimal configuration that would make it easier to update components more quickly. With a lighter car, the team could also have better split lines and interfaces between different parts of the car, such as the floors and bodywork, which would allow for more efficient upgrades.
“Additionally, it enables you to incorporate some level of modularity in the car. You can tolerate a slightly less-than-optimal configuration, which allows for faster updates due to improved split lines and better interfaces between the car’s floors and bodywork.”
While the A523 has undergone several changes, the most significant and noticeable one has been to the car’s rear and its suspension design.
Harman believes that being able to utilize the saved weight to enhance the car’s modularity would translate to better overall performance. By investing the saved mass in modularity, the team could bring upgrades to the car sooner, which would be beneficial for its performance. Harman sees this as a positive development that could potentially give the team an advantage over their competitors.
“One can utilize the mass to enhance modularity, which essentially equates to performance. This is beneficial because if you can implement the upgrade earlier, it’s even better.”
At its launch event, Alpine expressed confidence and set ambitious goals for the 2023 season. The team aims to close the gap to the top three teams, having finished 342 points behind third place in the 2022 season. They are aiming to finish in a more comfortable fourth place in the constructors’ championship this year.
Harman confirmed that the team has a full development budget to help achieve their goals, and that they intend to use the entire budget to make the necessary improvements to the car. He expressed his enthusiasm for the season ahead and believes that the team is well-equipped to take on the challenges that lie ahead.
When asked by The Race about the team’s goal of closing the gap to the top teams, Harman acknowledged that it was a challenging target. He believes that being realistic about the goals is important, and that closing the gap to the top teams, given the sizeable gap from last year, would be a significant accomplishment for the team.
Harman added that being able to capitalize on any mistakes or opportunities presented by the other teams would be a significant advantage for Alpine. He believes that the team is in a good position to take advantage of such situations and that they are well-prepared to compete at the highest level.
“It would be great to take advantage of any mistakes or opportunities presented by other teams.”
In order to take advantage of the opportunities that may arise during the season, Harman emphasized the need for Alpine to be closer to the top teams than they were last year. He believes that this is the team’s primary objective for the 2023 season, and that they are working hard to achieve it. By closing the gap to the top teams, Harman believes that Alpine will be in a better position to compete for podiums and potentially even race wins.
“In order to accomplish that, we need to be somewhat closer than we were last year, and I believe that’s what we’re striving for.”
Pride A523 Rear Development Pride A523 Rear Development Pride A523 Rear Development Pride A523 Rear Development
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