Alfa Romeo made “massive step” with reliability – Zhou

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In the round-up: Zhou Guanyu is encouraged by the progress Alfa Romeo have made with their car’s reliability.

In brief

Alfa Romeo has made “massive step” in reliability – Zhou

Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu says his team has made a “massive step” with the team’s reliability, despite a pair of concerning moments during testing.

Zhou was quickest in the second day of running but abandoned a practice start in the pit lane in the final minutes after a problem. In the early session of yesterday’s final day, Zhou’s team mate Valtteri Bottas stopped on track with a suspected power unit problem.

Despite the concerns, Zhou believes the team have made a vast improvement in reliability from 2022, where they were plagued by technical problems in races and practice sessions.

“We have done a massive step forward, together with also the Ferrari guys, in reliability issues,” Zhou said.

“Firstly starting with the cooling system, which was kind of our main part that we tried to improve during the year. It also slowed our other package development throughout the season for other parts to gain downforce. So we were focusing on making the car finish to the line. So we’re definitely aiming for much less DNFs between the drivers, because last year we had quite a lot.”

Alpine lost no downforce from anti-porpoising measures – Ocon

Alpine have not lost any downforce from new technical regulations introduced to curb porpoising, says Esteban Ocon.

The FIA enforced rule changes to the 2023 technical regulations in a bid to reduce aerodynamic porpoising in F1’s current ground effect cars. Car floors have been raised slightly, along with other minor changes to reduce the high speed bouncing effect.

After three days of running in the team’s new car, Ocon says Alpine have already clawed back the performance naturally lost from the new measures.

“If you take the regulations, we should have lost downforce and I don’t feel that’s been the case,” Ocon said. “So that’s pretty good.

“I feel a lot of all the different things between last year’s car and this year’s car in terms of how it handles, in terms of balance stability and braking stability as well, which is improved.”

‘Worth sacrificing qualifying for better tyre wear’ – Magnussen

Kevin Magnussen believes it is worth his Haas team sacrificing one-lap pace to try and make its car easier on its tyres during races.

Teams ran all six of Pirelli’s dry tyre compounds during testing, with Magnussen saying the team specifically focused on the C1, C2 and C3 compounds they will run in next weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

“We tried the compounds that we’re going to use at the race,” Magnussen said. “I think that’s one area that you want to always improve on and try and get less degradation and look after the tyres in the race.

“You can even trade a bit of quali performance to try and get a better tyre management or an easier car on the tyres, because that’s the most important point in the race. So I think that would be one of the things we try and focus on.”

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Comment of the day

With a potential ban on tyre warmers coming up to a vote later in the season leading to drivers such as Lewis Hamilton criticising the possibility, @petebaldwin does not feel the concerns are fully justified…

I agree with his point about it not being greener – the energy usage from tyre warmers is already miniscule in the grand scheme of things and if they all do an extra warm-up lap in quali, that likely negates any benefit.

I don’t buy the safety issue though. I have no doubt that it’s less safe to drive with cold tyres but it’s not as unsafe as driving in the rain and I don’t see Lewis arguing that cars should only be raced in perfect conditions.

Ultimately I think it’s the same thing we see all the time in F1 – banning tyre warmers will not benefit Mercedes or Hamilton so therefore, they don’t want it and will use any sensible sounding argument to back up their case.
Pete Baldwin

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7 comments on “Alfa Romeo made “massive step” with reliability – Zhou”

  1. I couldn’t agree more with James Hinchcliffe, & one example that disproves the danger argument is Super Formula which hasn’t had blankets in use during the races for at least a little while, & their drivers can drive on cold tyres after the pit stops without things becoming unnecessarily risky, meaning F1 drivers can do the same.
    Ultimately, Hinchcliffe’s reasoning about sustainability is also valid, which reduces COTD’s first paragraph’s validity, although the safety-related paragraphs are equally valid.

    How many different Chinese car manufacturers exist? I bet only one, max two, or three, so perhaps he shouldn’t have even mentioned the nationality. Still interesting that such issues could arise with a mere rental car that’s electric or hybrid.

    1. I couldn’t agree more with James Hinchcliffe, & one example that disproves the danger argument is Super Formula which hasn’t had blankets in use during the races for at least a little while, & their drivers can drive on cold tyres after the pit stops without things becoming unnecessarily risky, meaning F1 drivers can do the same.

      The main point being skipped over is that Pirelli will make entirely new tyres for use without warmers. Just like they made different tyres when they were heated to 80°C as they do this year when they’re heated to 50°C. So while today’s F1 tyres won’t work well without being warmed, next year’s Pirelli tyres will. But nobody has driven those yet for the simple reason that they do not currently exist.

      1. Actually, I believe the drivers tested some of the new no-warmer wet tires recently, and that’s the source of the comments from the drivers.

        Some drivers have already tested Pirelli’s development tyres for next year which are designed to work without blankets. Hamilton was among them, but he is dead set against a ban on blankets, and said a crash is inevitable if it goes ahead.

        They Do Not Like.

    2. one example that disproves the danger argument is Super Formula which hasn’t had blankets in use during the races for at least a little while

      Super Formula, while being one of the closest series in relation to F1 in terms of overall performance, is still significantly slower– The best comparison seems to be Motorsport that suggests on a 1:30 lap for F1, SF will take 8.65 seconds longer. Less acceleration, less downforce, less engine braking, not to mention slower cornering speed. With cold tires, just the deceleration from engine braking could conceivably lead to a loss of control.

      Ultimately, Hinchcliffe’s reasoning about sustainability is also valid

      He’s right about the cost of shipping tire warmers around the world, but, answer this question: If F1 tires must operate in a specific temperature window for maximum grip, where does the energy to reach that window come from?

      With tire warmers it’s obvious. Without tire warmers– it comes from the opening laps. If the energy is going into the tires, it’s not going into propelling the car, let alone making the car faster– therefore, the car is either going slower, or burning more fuel– or, paradoxically, if the parasitic load of the cold tires is high enough, then the car is both slower, AND burning more fuel. Additional braking, weaving, or burnouts, all consume additional fuel as well.

      James Hinchcliffe is neither a race engineer, nor a thermodynamicist.

      How many different Chinese car manufacturers exist?

  2. Re F2 calendar… it is obvious that in the last few years the category is losing it a bit. Because of the need of SuperLicence points, the championship should be fninished as per September, thus allowing F1 teams to seal its driver line-up with anticipation. I’m thinking about Williams and Sargeant; what if Logan failed to score the SuperLicence points in the last race? It was mid November, not many drivers were still available.

    On top of that, the calendar itself is starting to lose the point of “cost saving” that was used in 2021 for changing the race weekend format. I understand Bruno Michel: if you can carry the championship to Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Australia!, United States! and the sponsors and teams still pay the bills, let’s squeeze them and make more profit. But it’s just pushing upwards the junior formula cost bubble, reducing the available drivers able to reach the pinnacle. It’s a shame.

  3. It does seem very odd that F2 has such a long gap before the final race. It’s almost a bit of an afterthought by then. Then of course, the championship may already be decided by the previous race, which makes it even less relevant. Surely it could be planned better.

    1. @phil-f1-21 Indeed, by, for example, supporting F1 in Qatar too (which I’m still surprised isn’t the case anyway, given F2 races in the other Middle East locations) to at least minimize the gap length.

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