Fernando Alonso, Alpine, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021

Alpine bringing “decent upgrade package” for next race after point-less start

2021 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Alpine will bring a significant upgrade for its A521 chassis to the next race at Imola following its point-less start to the season in Bahrain.

The team’s executive director Marcin Budkowski said the rear of the car is the focus of its work, following the changes required in that area by new rules introduced for the 2021 F1 season.

“There’s an area that’s changed in the regulations which is an area of development at the moment,” he explained. “It’s obviously the side of the of the floor and the diffuser.

“We’ve done some work there at the tests, we’ve done some work [in Bahrain] and no doubt we’ll do some more work at the next few races, everybody else will as well. It’s an area which will change.

“We have a pretty decent upgrade package coming for Imola, so we’ll have some more new parts and more performance on the car in Imola. And in general, in the first few races of the season, we’ll have some new bits coming through.”

Alpine “scared ourselves a little bit” during the daytime sessions in Bahrain, Budkowski admitted, as they were noticeably weaker in the higher temperatures at the desert track.

“We have a bit of homework on understanding why we’re seemingly less competitive in the hot sessions than in the evening sessions,” he said. “Which I don’t think is going to be a problem in Imola or Portugal but could become a thing in the summer months.”

“We were fairly happy with with the car at the [pre-season] test but it’s fair to say we’re less happy with the car in the hot sessions. First and third practice [were] more difficult for us and we [went] back to a level of competitiveness that is more representative in the evening sessions, second practice and qualifying.

“The temperature has been quite extreme. It was hotter than during the test. Towards the beginning of third practice it was 38 degrees [Celsius] ambient, I think 47 track temperature, that’s way hotter than it was two weeks ago at the test.”

The team ended last year in the thick of the fight for third place in the constructors championship, but has slipped back at the start of the new season. “We’re still a bit short of two or three tenths to actually be fighting with the people we aimed to fight with,” said Budkowski.

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10 comments on “Alpine bringing “decent upgrade package” for next race after point-less start”

  1. Testing had ambient highs in the mid-30s, so not far away from the high of 38 on the race weekend. Nevertheless, Bahrain was abnormally hot for March on both weekends.

  2. This reads like a justification of lack of performance. Blame it on weather.

  3. I don’t think the conditions on the race weekend were any different from when the team has raced in Bahrain in previous seasons. Also, they have serious issues if their car underperforms with cut minor environment changes.

    Honestly, I had a gut feeling from pre season testing that Alpine was going to struggle this year. An underdeveloped power unit with a rather ridiculous fat car philosophy was never going to work. I believe they’ll be in a world of pain this season, and I doubt their updates will do much to fix the situation.

    1. @todfod Somewhat different as figures in the mid-30s aren’t normality in March or April. I agree with you on the second paragraph, though. Not only Aston Martin, but Alpine could also struggle this year. I don’t think either will challenge for Mclaren or Ferrari for P3 in the WCC.

      1. If so Dan Ric is a lucky man

  4. So the hunchback will get some updates. Plenty of room for cooling.

  5. The temperature sensitivity fits with what Gary Anderson was saying before season start about the higher center of gravity following the high packaging of stuff behind the air inlet. Could of course be unrelated, but still interesting.

    1. ..as in ‘fast to get heat in the tyres, but slow to get it out’. (I guess from more leaning)

      1. Weird. I would think that because of the high centre of gravity they would be slow to get heat in the tyres and fast to get them out… just because the car seems less pressed to the ground than it’s rivals.

  6. Are they going to update to a GP2 engine? ;)

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