Smaller teams were left irritated by the timing of a floor regulation change as it could benefit the top three in 2023, according to Alfa Romeo technical director Jan Monchaux.
The FIA raised the minimum floor edge height by 15 millimeters over the winter to try and prevent porpoising remaining an issue as cars are developed. The final call was made in August of last year and Monchaux says it was a late decision given the fact the C43 was being worked on from the moment last year’s car rolled out in February.
“We like change, so it’s always a new opportunity when rules are changing,” Monchaux said. “We were slightly irritated by the timing because it was decided very late and usually late changes are favoring bigger outfits, but the changes are mainly on the floor side where the FIA decided to lift the edges by 15mm.
“It doesn’t sound a lot 15mm but that was enough to keep us scratching our heads and having to redo all the floor and rear end of the car alongside those new rules. So far I’m pretty happy about the progress we did.”
However, Monchaux acknowledges the need for the rule change and is hopeful porpoising won’t remain a major issue this year after the work that was done over the past 12 months.
“I hope not! I hope not because we have only three days of winter testing and if we were caught in a similar situation as last year then it would be a nightmare. Because if we spend a day or a day and a half in the garage trying to fix the car like happened last year during the first test in Barcelona then the start of the season would really be in jeopardy.
“The hopes are quite high from what the FIA has said and all the methods and metrics we have developed in-house that the topic will be delayed – because you can’t really get rid of the phenomenon, you can just delay or postpone the moment it gets triggered. And I hope with the changes to the rules and the work that we’ve been doing in developing the new floor that it will be delayed up to a point where we effectively never get there and never have the porpoising.
“Now, the very fact I’ve said it will probably mean we will have some porpoising, I just hope it will be another team and not us!”
And the Frenchman says another relatively new regulation that sees team get varying car development time on a sliding scale based on championship position could bring the rest of the midfield even closer together than last year.
“I’m under the assumption that at least the midfield will be more close together because of the rules that are in place limiting the amount of tests you can do depending on where you were. So those that ended up behind us can do more, which means strictly speaking they should be able to find more performance. So somehow I’m thinking the midfield will be more compressed, but this is speculation.
“Hopefully us, but some outfits might have done a brilliant job over the winter and might have been able to do a bigger step than the rest of the field, but as of today and then we can have a chat after the first test and first race – I would hope, also for the fans, that there would be a fierce battle for the top of the midfield among six or seven teams. So I think it’s going to be a season where the amount of grey hair will increase!”