Esteban Ocon, Alpine, Melbourne, 2024

Alpine bringing “first step of weight reduction” for A524 to Japanese GP

Formula 1

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Alpine will bring the first upgrades for their overweight A524 chassis to this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix.

In addition to weight-saving changes the team will also bring aerodynamic refinements for their latest car, which is yet to score a point this season.

Team principal Bruno Famin said they “are on schedule to make the first updates to the A524” this weekend. “Although they are not major, it is important for us to add these elements as soon as we can so we can assess the potential and continually improve our understanding of our package.

“These updates mainly concern a new front wing as well as the first step of weight reduction.”

The team saw a slight improvement in performance at the Australian Grand Prix where Esteban Ocon became the first of its drivers to reach Q2 this year. “We were able to fight closer to the points than in previous rounds,” Famin acknowledged.

“That said, that was likely down to circumstance and track specifics rather than an improvement in performance. And it is still a long way from our objective.”

Alpine need to “fight tooth and nail to better our performance in all areas,” he added.

The team also confirmed it will switch to its “predominantly blue livery” from this weekend’s race, having run its alternative pink colour scheme at the opening rounds. However both versions use significantly less paint than last year, in order to reduce weight.

Ocon finished 16th, three places behind his team mate, but was forced to make an unscheduled visit to the pits during the race.

“There were promising signs with the car showing better performance across the weekend as a whole and being closer to the teams around us,” said Ocon. “[But] it felt like a bit of a missed opportunity as, without the extra pit stop to remove the tear-off from the rear brake duct, we could have been in the mix for points.”

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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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22 comments on “Alpine bringing “first step of weight reduction” for A524 to Japanese GP”

  1. By blue, we mean we are staying black but changing the colour of the stickers and stripes

    1. Indeed

  2. What’s the point of having a livery when it’s so small no one sees it?

  3. Their livery was pink in those first rounds?

  4. It’s obviously April’s fool

  5. They’re going to save weight by omitting the wheel nuts. This will also speed up their pit stops.

    1. Sauber are doing that already!

      1. Oh heck! I was thinking of Sauber. I must be getting old!

  6. Sure guys. The first of many many upgrades to get to the weight of their direct competition? Good luck with that car drivers.

  7. Rumour has it that they’ve applied for the drivers to operate the cars remotely from the garage to save the weight.

  8. If they remove Ocon and Gasly egos they would save a ton of weight.

    1. Particularly Gasly’s. Ocon’s chip and all the dirt accumulated from questionable driving are the main sources of weight on his skeletal frame.

  9. First step of weight reduction would be to remove all the remaining paint, obviously!

  10. Coventry Climax
    2nd April 2024, 13:54

    How much of a weight reduction are we talking about?
    I’d be interested to know what their car weighs now, and how much their (first) weight reduction actually is.
    Despite the data being dirty because they also change aero, it at least gives somewhat of an indication on how weight affects performance.
    Am I the only one still interested in the technical part of F1? Given the jolly remarks above sure makes me think so.

    1. I don’t know any of the actual figures for Alpine but thinking back to last year, the min weight was set at 795kg, and the teams said they were struggling to get down to that weight, so 3Kg was added to the regs, making it 798kg, and they were happy with that. This raises the whole question of why there is a min weight requirement at all, and why does it matter if teams cannot get down to it. I think it is to do with driver weight, so that taller drivers who weigh a bit more are not at a disadvantage.

      So I’m guessing Alpine are only a few kilos over the min weight, and feel that has a significant performance penalty. I think the thing about stripping off paint is not only that it can save several kilos of weight, but it is typically removed from the upper surfaces of the car which helps lower the centre of gravity. Not by much though.

      1. Coventry Climax
        3rd April 2024, 12:33

        Not by much though, you say.
        Quick, dirty (and impossible) calculation of the maximum difference in CoG with 1 kg of extra paint:
        Car weight 800 kg (min 798 per rules), car height 1 m (max 95cm as per rules)

        Assuming a current CoG of 50 cm (half the car’s height) above tarmac, without the extra paint, and then adding all the paint on top, so at 1m above tarmac, would add a static torque of 1×1=1 kgm to the previous 800×0.5=400kgm, meaning a difference of 100*(1/400)= 0,25%.
        With more realistic figures, the 0,25% difference will only come down, so ‘not by much’ indeed.

        I don’t think CoG is the actual issue here, it’ll rather be total weight and hence centripetal force, so what’s needed to keep the car on its trajectory through curves, meaning downforce versus weight.

    2. In an Interview during the Bahrain GP Gasly was asked where they are loosing their time and he mentioned explicitly that 2 kg are worth 0.06 seconds per lap. (Unfortunately I can’t find the source anymore).
      It could be a coincidence, but it’s also possible he just blabbed it accidentally. Why would he choose that concrete number otherwise?
      Let’s hope for their sake it’s a little bit more than that.

      1. Coventry Climax
        3rd April 2024, 11:36

        While we can’t confirm nor deny those figures, we also know drivers are not always the best source for technical data, exaggerating or playing down things when it suits either their own or the teams narrative.
        So, again, I’d like to see some sort of official communications on these figures.

        To continue on the speculation though: In Bahrein Q1, Alpine was dead last and already more than 2 tenths behind the first team directly above them. They miss out on reaching Q2 sofar by some half a second on average. Comparing their times to the top Q3 is pointless, as for those teams I’m sure there’s quite a chunk of aero involved as well, and this is supposed to be about weight only. If the 0.06 per Bahrein lap (of 5.412 km) per 2kg is true, that would mean Alpine would have to ditch some 20 kg to gain six tenths over a 5.4 km lap.
        That leads me to two -personal- conclusions: 1) This is doubtful, to say the least, and 2) Drop Alpine as it is a team with no promise of being competitive and no added value to F1.

        So, there again, speculation is nice, but I’d like to see true figures.

        1. Yeah, it’s speculation of course. I’d love to see some confirmed figures as well, but concerning weight the teams play their cards very close to their chest.

          From the refueling era we know that on an average lap the weight penalty for 10 kg is about 0.3 of a second which is pretty much in line with what Gasly said.
          If, and it’s a big if, the 2 kg is correct Alpine do indeed need much more than just a reduction of weight.
          But if on the other hand they are about 10 kg to heavy we can expect some Red Bull 2022 like leaps by them. So it will be interesting to follow their progress closely.

  11. RandomMallard
    2nd April 2024, 17:40

    Translated: both Gasly and Ocon have had their appendixes out…

    1. Coventry Climax
      3rd April 2024, 17:01

      And: Hamilton would be a top driver again if he had his jewellery removed.

  12. Looks like Ocon and Gasly are on chicken salad (easy on the chicken) until summer break at least.

    Am I the only one still interested in the technical part of F1?

    Nice idea, but…
    Your chances of seeing the simplest data like weight being released?
    Somewhere between the centimeter length of a gnat’s do-dar, and the lifetime of a snowball in the fiery pits of hell

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