Alpine keen to reap benefits of being underweight

Photo courtesy of BWT Alpine F1

Alpine keen to reap benefits of being underweight

Formula 1

Alpine keen to reap benefits of being underweight


Alpine has been aggressive with its 2023 car targets and can exploit setup advantages by getting the A523 under the weight limit this year, according to technical director Matt Harman.

Many teams have been struggling to get their cars below the 798kg (1,759 lb) weight limit, as evidenced by a number of liveries that feature black aspects to allow the design to use less paint. However, Harman was keen to highlight that Alpine has delivered a car below that limit, giving it the ability to move ballast around to help with the car balance on top of the obvious pace benefits.

“We would have been happy with a 796kg weight limit, so we’re quite happy,” Harman said. “The good thing about these things is we very quickly spend it back in performance. So we’ve got ideas — we’ve got a lot of things we can do with the car that will allow us to spend that mass.

“And I think it’s just really important not to be where we were last year because it does limit what we can do at the circuit, it does limit what we can do on weight distribution. It limits the toys we can put on the car to help us with mechanics — balance and things like that. So I think we’re quite happy with where we are.”

Despite the confidence, Harman says Alpine has similarly taken paint off around the rear of the car to aid weight, but he doesn’t foresee that being something it continues to do even as it seeks other saving opportunities.

“It’s quite well-documented and we’re all doing that — the cars are getting less and less paint on them every year, aren’t they? But it is important that you’re into all those things because you don’t want to be wasting any mass, every single gram on the car needs to be being put back into performance. It’s 35 milliseconds a kilo, so you need to be spending that wisely — that’s what we try and do.

“We will carry on regardless. Even though we’re under, there will be a point we’ll be back over again, and then we’ll be back under again, so we’re just going to keep going.”

It’s the rear end that Harman is particularly proud of, with a new design and change in suspension concept from the 2022 car to this year.

“I think we’ve done a good job with the rear of the car. I think when you get into a bit more detail and you see that a bit more in Bahrain, you’ll see how extensive that is. We pushed it very hard — it’s challenged us in validation, it’s challenged us in a few areas but we got there now and we’re quite proud of it.”