Esteban Ocon, Alpine, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021

Rear floor changes “proved trickier than we expected” – Budkowski

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In the round-up: Alpine executive director Marcin Budkowski says that teams initially lost a second per lap due to F1’s new rear floor regulations.

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What they say

Budkowski says teams are already converging on the same solutions for the loss of downforce due to the rear floor changes:

As every team, we lost a chunk compared to last year, due to the the changes at the back of the car. Everybody’s been quite busy recovering it. I’m not going to tell you where we ended up exactly but everybody looks at recovering all of it. We lost over a second a lap to start with and then obviously we’re recovering and recovering.

It’s a challenging area, because when you touch an area like the rear corner, you get into correlation issues usually between the CFD, the tunnel and the track. I don’t think it was intentional, actually, from the FIA to pose that extra challenge. But I think it was it was maybe a slightly unintended effect of these rules, it proved trickier than we expected initially, it’s not just the piece of floor missing, it’s actually quite a bit of a headache as well on top of it.

It makes it interesting, you can see there’s different solutions on different cars. It’s usually the case when you have a new regulation that I’m sure is going to converge, it’s already converged during the test. So we’ve been doing some testing there, as a lot of other teams. We’ve had good results, good direction, good understanding – obviously, correlation is challenging there, but no surprise that not only we’ve gained some understanding, but we’ve improved performance of the car.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

After Eddie Jordan’s comments that his team would have been unviable with a $200 million anti-dilution fee, Carl Parker says that it comes down to equitable distribution, again:

Pretty simple solution – they should work out how many cars max they ever want on the grid, and divide the prize money including any ‘missing’ teams. That way no existing team ‘loses out’ when a new one comes in.

What they do with the money in the mean time could be things like charity, grass-roots investment, etc. I’m sure they could figure something out.

I do think new teams should have to prove they are ‘ready’ for the challenge of entering F1 but a fee like that is crazy.

Not sure about some of the other points EJ mentions though.

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Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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39 comments on “Rear floor changes “proved trickier than we expected” – Budkowski”

  1. Watching the TV interview, the tone of voice of the interviewer asking the question “do you think you’re still as good as them?” has a sceptical tone, like the interviewer (or ‘everyone else’) doubts Alonso is still as good. I get why he said he’s better. I mean, obviously all the top drivers do think they’re better. But they don’t always say so out loud. But in this case, what can Alonso say? The question is blunt so he gives a blunt answer. If he’d said yes, he’s as good, I’d have thought, oh, so he thinks he’s maybe not as good now. Even so, I wasn’t that convinced :OP

    1. Yep, it’s like « Brindle and Hill think… » in the roundup. Who cares about them? A microcosm of British people, but not the worldwide F1 fan. These guys are the dinosaurs of the sport, they are no proper journalists with a college degree. Their opinion is of no value.

      1. @jeff1s I think I would disagree with you on that. Hill is a world champion, surely a worthwhile perspective to listen to, and brundle drove 158 GPs and is pretty much the voice of the sport. You may be right that their voices cut through more to UK audience but their opinions are certainly not valueless.

        1. @frood19 Damon Hill is just a British flag waver, not much more. He was even shocked to find out when he was a driver that the British press could be anything other than supportive, and said as much. Now that he’s in the press, he is that.

          Brundle is better but also work for British media and of course knows it.

          About Alonso’s comment it was a nice quip to a silly question.

      2. What an odd comment. I am a proper journalist and have a college degree. I can assure you that having a college degree doesn’t add value to your opinion. Having a lifetime of F1 experience sure adds a lot more value than going to school does.

        1. I’m just sick of them hanging around. I used to like Brundle, but he is outdated, his son’s doing a better job on the PLC of F1Tv alongside Alex Jacque.

          Hill is the first champion I witnessed as a fan and really he’s became a Jacques Villeneuve-esque in British.

          It is not a rant, I want things to change. Those guys are around for decades, don’t tell me there is no better option.

    2. Brilliant answer from Alonso. Big grin on my face. He’s back!

  2. It’ll be interesting to see which teams have made the best fist of managing the rear floor changes as it seems on the face of it to have impacted the team(s) that had the best settled rear end from last year.

    The other thing of note will be whether or not anyone challenges the legality of McLaren’s rear diffuser as they seem to have been the only ones that have come up with something unique. Usually that gets challenged if indeed it proves to make a big difference and sets them ahead of their competitors by a large margin. One only has to look back at the double diffuser saga from 2009.

    1. @dbradock

      The other thing of note will be whether or not anyone challenges the legality of McLaren’s rear diffuser

      Yep thinking the same thing may come up as a request for ‘clarification’ of the rules.

      1. Aaron turnbull
        25th March 2021, 6:49

        I have read multiple tech journalists say that it is legal, not even a grey area or really a loophole. The only thing they said is that it is easily copied.. might just take a couple of races..aaron

    2. @dbradock

      I think teams are already working on copying Mclaren’s diffuser concept. They might appeal it for clarifications, but I’m sure they’ll have their own version to bolt on to the car the next day.

      It’s hard to say which team has maximised the floor changes. Mercedes and Aston seem to have the most innovative solutions for their low rake cars, but considering that all the experts are confident of a high rake concept might be the best approach to the floor changes… maybe it’s Red Bull and Mclaren that have cracked it.

      1. @todfod – I imagine that the top teams might consider copying it but there’s the small matter of a budget cap this year that means they can’t just copy and develop quite as much as they used to be able to as no doubt there’d be things upstream that might need to be modified to make maximum use of it.

        It might be cheaper/easier for teams to get it banned (or try to) so they can maximise their development funds for things they already have on the drawing board for their current designs and their 2022 chassis.

        1. As it’s very easy to add it to a floor i think most will have it next weekend. But what i heard from some ‘experts’ some teams found it not so performance increase during simulations so they are going to oped to ignore or get it banned.

        2. Doesn’t it require a change to the gearbox to copy this, and thus a token?

          1. That’s what I heard too.
            Part of the gearbox casing so you need a token to adapt that part.

          2. As I said the other day I had to chuckle when Mac literally said they were surprised nobody found the loophole they did, and went on to describe what they did (or at least the article did). So all I could think was they might as well have just flagged everyone over to their garage and flipped the car on it’s side for everyone to have a good look.

            I expect that it is legal and that by now everyone has considered whether they need to adapt this concept for their cars, and especially without having to change too much else on their car front to rear to make it work. I suspect most won’t be exactly duplicating Mac’s idea, and that as well the jury is still out as to whether their concept is even the be all and end all, whereas others may have come up with something even better for themselves based on what they do with airflow front to rear.

  3. Re Alonso’s comments I think the first opponant any athlete needs to face are their own doubts about their ability. So not a shocking or arrogant, infact if he didn’t believe that no other driver would take him seriously either.

    *Getting a few nice new functions for posters, would it be possible to add an edit function please?

    1. If Alonso ends up beating Ocon soundly, I’m expecting Renault to scoop up Gasly

      1. Honestly.. before the season has even started, it’s obvious that Alpine will already be lower than where they finished last year.

        Mclaren has a massive challenge, yet they seem to have made a step forward..Alpha Tauri look fast and reliable, Aston didn’t have a great pre season, but they still developed the 3rd fastest car from last season and have a similar approach to Mercedes.. Ferrari have made a step forward with their engine and chassis… Alfa romeo also have the benefit of a better engine..

        I’m going to predict that Alpine will be awful this season.. they’ll be battling the Alfas for 7th and be marginally ahead on Williams and Haas all season long.

  4. Interesting answer, the one alonso gave, I think 2007 was obviously a more impressive season for hamilton, but he’s also arguably the best rookie ever, although alonso was still adapting to the bridgestone tyres, however it’s easy to see how correcting for the car they had, the following years were more impressive for alonso than hamilton; alonso has always been good at getting the best out of bad cars, hamilton hasn’t really had much chance to prove it, but I think hamilton made a step up in 2018, he became more consistent, now alonso is injured and back from several years out of the sport, but were it not for that it’d be very interesting to see them on the same car, I think it could be another 2007 between them, which unfortunately will never happen, there’s always too much car performance difference.

  5. Comments by Marc Simon Harris lend some lack of interest of watching a show and tell TV program Drive to Survive. True from that show to leave out the people and their stories that breathed life into F1. A show about a sport, not a Hollywood resort symbol of huffy fake attitude onscreen. More than a bit sad.

    My wasting a few minutes on that TV show was boring. Watching the actual races is much, much better.

    1. @bullmello I agree that watching the actual races is better. Doing so gives a better idea of things than DTS anyway.

  6. Alpine’s statements to the press never inspire any confidence. Whether it was their admittance that they didn’t improve their engine over the winter… Or whether it was a chunky car as a technical compromise.. Or whether it’s the headache of correlation issues with the rear floor.

    I expect them to struggle massively this year. The drivers will be on point.. But I’d expect the car performance to be lower midfield.. Maybe 7th or 8th quickest

    1. Ricciardo’s move starts to make sense

  7. I have utmost respect for SFW and what Williams has done for the sport. But saying that it was the most important story after COVID-19 is a stretch.

    Additionally, the name Williams is not disappearing from the sport (That would be a bigger story). It is only the family that is selling the stake. SFW’s involvement has anyways reduced for a while now and I don’t think Claire has made enough of a mark on the sport to deserve an episode / half an episode.

    Bigger story should have been Russell at Sakhir GP which could have had a few minutes of the Williams family stake sale.

    1. I think it’s obvious that the Williams team did not participate in the filming of season 3. My uninformed opinion is that Claire did like the way she was portrayed in season 2, especially with the ice-cold scene in the garage with Paddy Lowe.
      I think there would have been enough of Williams story lines for an episode at least as long as the shortest one (36 minutes) — George subbing for Lewis, introducing the new owners and management, the family legacy… and surely something about Latifi as well.

      1. They could have been scheduled for the backend of the season & Dorilton might have thought it inadvisable.

  8. The more of Drive to Survive I watch, the less it seems to be catering for the everyday F1 fan. There’s lots of subtle inconsistencies, out of context quotes and general continuity errors which seem solely aimed at generating or embellishing drama to make the sport seem appealing to the uninitiated. I can understand that. It also seems very focused on the here and now so it doesn’t surprise me that the Williams of old doesn’t get that much recognition as sad as that is for those who’ve followed the sport for decades.

    1. the less it seems to be catering for the everyday F1 fan

      It’s not for people who already watch F1 but those who have had zero interest in it before.

      And it works brilliantly for what it is. Turned my SO from “I’m not interested in that” to “We can’t go to my parents on Sunday, it’s a race weekend.” and I’ve heard many similar stories from others.

      1. @tommy-c I agree. F1 didn’t necessarily need DTS in the first place, but I don’t mind its existence.

      2. Same happened with my gf

    2. Couldn’t agree more!

      And the way they milked the “Romain stuck in a burning monocoque” scene for MINUTES was cringeworthy at best…

    1. Aaron turnbull
      25th March 2021, 6:58

      sorry, ment to be a reply to a comment above

  9. From what I understand as an armchair critic, DtS is only allowed to show whatever each of the teams allows them. We certainly can’t have a Williams episode full of clips of races, radio and Jennie Gow and Will Buxton telling us what happened. I think it’s doing the job of attracting fans and showing diehards like myself a side of the sport I’ve loved for over 20 years that I don’t see at all! It isn’t perfect, but it’s the perfect primer for the new season. I finished it quite excited for the new season to start!!! Job done DtS.

    1. @cavman99 I’m enjoying the series as a primer too. Some revealing elements so far (excluding the revelation of the Bottasbutt) include the social media post that wound-up Bottas so much pre-Socchi, and Albon’s muted (and apparently tearful) response to the Hamilton collision with another classic Hornerism digging the hole deeper: “he really doesn’t like you, does her?” Psychologically, not a great motivator for Alex.

  10. I’ve not got much sympathy with Williams tbh, I’m not sure how they could expect Netflix to cover their “big story” without having access to the key messaging. It’s hard to create drama using 2nd hand info or a narrator saying “this just happened”, whatever.

    Even looking at Williams on the whole, hardly any characters or items of interest across the whole season. I don’t think F1 fans would’ve noticed if they weren’t there last year nevermind the Netflix audience. It’s also not the greatest look for F1 “here’s the ashes of a former great racing team being sold for 20 pence to an investment group with zero cred, the end”. May sound harsh but imo Williams haven’t added anything for years.

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