Alfa Romeo C43 launch, 2023

Alfa Romeo irritated by ‘very late’ rule change which added ‘half a second’ to lap times

2023 F1 season

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Alfa Romeo are concerned a change to the floor rules for the 2023 Formula 1 season will favour the sport’s leading teams.

The change to the dimensions of the cars’ floors was announced in August last year. Alfa Romeo technical director Jan Monchaux said it gave the team an extra headache when designing the new car it presented today.

“We like change, it’s always a new opportunity when rules are changing,” said Monchaux. “We were slightly irritated by the timing because it was decided very late, and usually late changes are favouring bigger outfits.”

The FIA imposed the changes in response to the porpoising some teams experienced last season, due to concerns over the effect it could have on drivers’ health.

Alfa Romeo C43 launch, 2023
Gallery: Alfa Romeo C43 launch
“The changes are mainly on the floor side, the FIA decided to lift the edges by 15 millimetres,” Monchaux explained. “It doesn’t sound a lot, 15mm, but that was enough to keep us scratching our head and having to redo all the floor and rear end of the car alongside those new rules. And so far, I’m pretty happy about the progress we did.”

Monchaux said the impact of the rules will vary from team to team but he expects all will be able to regain the lost lap time.

“The rule change, I think the order of magnitude, let’s call it half a second lap time loss, which I will assume is more or less plus or minus a tenth everywhere. And I have no doubt that most of the teams will have recovered those losses. Then it’s a matter of how much more have you been able to put on to the car for the start of the season.”

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However he says it will be “more important” for Alfa Romeo to continue unlocking more performance from their car during the season. He pointed out the team only narrowly held on to sixth place in the championship last year under pressure from Aston Martin, who would have beaten them had Sebastian Vettel finished one place higher in the final race.

“We started very strong last year and at some point struggled a bit more to also bring performance to the car. It’s going to be a 23-race season and if there’s one thing we also learned last year it’s that the season is not over until the last lap in Abu Dhabi because it’s the last lap where we finished P6, with half a second ahead of Vettel.

“We had our highs, we had downs, but we need to also as a team – and this I think was very clear from all the reviews we’ve been doing that we, we can’t give up. Race one will be what it is. Maybe it will be very good, maybe we’ll be a bit disappointed.

“Okay, turn the page, there’s still 22 races and I have no doubt that these guys, but also the team at home, 500 people or so, will be will be pushing very hard to then recover what needs to be recovered if it is or build an advantage, if we would be in the higher parts of the midfield.”

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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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11 comments on “Alfa Romeo irritated by ‘very late’ rule change which added ‘half a second’ to lap times”

  1. The FIA imposed the changes in response to the porpoising some teams experienced last season, due to concerns over the effect it could have on drivers’ health.

    “Experienced” is an odd way to describe deliberately setting up your car in a way that gets the regulator to change the rules while literally hurting your drivers in the process.

    1. “Stake”s are high- When Adrian Newey was designing cars in the 90s the drivers couldn’t even fit in them, the competition is on another level in F1. Romantic side of F1 aside the drivers are a component of the car that is made to win. The teams will always take any advantage they can gain out of any rule set. The responsibility lies with FIA to sanction safety.

    2. Naughty Neutral
      7th February 2023, 14:27

      That, and an acting course

  2. First excuse of the new season: we’ve got a slow floor.

  3. It used to favour the top teams because they had bigger budgets so could deploy more resources at a problem, now if they are all hitting the budget cap this shouldn’t happen.

    1. The budget cap is largely a fiction. The teams will figure out creative ways to get around it like the do any other rule. Red Bull doesn’t even bother to comply and since they weren’t penalized why should anyone else.

      1. So the regulations that are a fiction did indeed work and produced a punishment (fictional to you as well, apparently) in what was determined to be a breach?

        Does this reality-bending exercise ever give you headaches?

        1. Because the penalty was less than the gain of cheating

    2. In addition to Darryn’s content, remember that many of the teams lower down the grid have total budgets which are less than the cap.

      Basically, the big 3 are hitting the cap, but the rest couldn’t hit the cap (after paying for all the things excluded from the cap) if they wanted to. There may be a smaller difference now, but the big 3 still have much more to spend than the rest.

      1. Income from new title sponsor will bring Haas up to cost cap level – Steiner

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