Esteban Ocon, Alpine, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021

Alpine insists “spectacularly bulky” new engine cover “works for us”

2021 F1 season

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Alpine executive director Marcin Budkowski has explained the thinking behind the unusually large engine cover on the team’s new A521.

The car is closely based on the car the team raced last year, when it was known as Renault. Alpine has repackaged components around its power unit which has resulted in noticeably larger bodywork at the rear of the car compared to its predecessor (below).

However the team’s executive director Marcin Budkowski said this change has allowed the teams to make gains elsewhere.

“It’s a technical choice. We found that slimming the sidepods was a positive direction, which is nothing new really,” he explained.

“So we’ve repackaged and relocated some of the bulky things in the car and we’ve put them behind the air inlet.

“Yes, it gives a fairly spectacularly bulky shape in the car but still, we found it works for us. Yes, there are centre of gravity compromises but usually the aero performance wins over weight and centre of gravity.”

Budkowski said the team made a “pretty solid start” to their testing programme with Esteban Ocon yesterday.

“It was a good day yesterday with Esteban in the car for the whole day. We ran through all our programme, lots of aero testing, some set-up work.

“He was fairly comfortable in the car by the end of the day. Obviously, conditions were particularly tricky with the wind and the sandstorm. But a positive day in the office yesterday.”

Esteban Ocon, Renault, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020
Esteban Ocon, Renault, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 18 comments on “Alpine insists “spectacularly bulky” new engine cover “works for us””

    1. Half surprised that nobody has looked at that car and drawn a comparison with the high-airbox version of the Ligier JS5…

    2. Reminds me of some of the old ‘teapot’ Ligiers from the mid 70’s…

      1. Yeah, linkback to the glorydays of Ligier!

        1. The glorydays of Ligier when they crushed all times during testing, using a illegal car with almost no fuel?

          1. Wasn’t that after Ligier became Prost, about 30 years later?

            1. No, by that time they did not impress even in testing anymore!

              Yeah, Erikje, I know, Ligier never really had that much success, did they.

            2. Definitely suggestions that Prost GP used this trick…

              “The French driver, who was taking part in what proved to be his final campaign in Formula 1, ended up going a second quicker than any of his rivals in Estoril, Portugal, and while sponsors took notice, there were also suspicions that the AP04 was running with a somewhat lighter than usual fuel load.”

    3. Then again, they could be on a fiddle. Time will tell.

    4. Interestingly, by contrast, the intake is quite small compared to other teams… and from this pic looks like Williams is crazy bulky in other ways https://www.racefans.net/2021/03/13/2021-f1-pre-season-testing-day-two-in-pictures/motor-racing-formula-one-testing-day-two-sakhir-bahrain-84/

      1. The Williams certainly does look pregnant. Perhaps there’s a baby F1 car in there waiting to get out!

      2. Williams certainly looks like a different concept from the rest of the grid, sort of like RP toward the end of last year, ramping down into the floor.

    5. If it works it aint stupid.

      1. @jureo Exactly. Modern submarines are huge round bulbous things that are light years more efficient at travelling under water than the sleek knife shaped subs of WW2.

    6. Pedro Andrade
      13th March 2021, 16:08

      With so many people complaining about lack of external innovation in F1 cars, this certainly looks different, good on them to try!

    7. Tommy Scragend
      13th March 2021, 17:41

      Not saying it’s easy on the eye, but it’s good to have cars looking different from each other again. They’ve all become a bit too identikit these days.

      1. I have to agree, other than the wheelbase of the Mercedes and the rake of the Red Bull, if you painted all of the cars from the last couple of years the same colour i’d struggle to tell them apart.

    8. Anyone else draw comparisons to Godzilla?? Personally I think it makes it looks more GT and road style/badass compared to the narrower versions. I’m not even a Renault/alpine fan.

    9. A521 Jumbo! Lovely to see something different, but weight that high up versus in the side pods seems ill advised.

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