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Formula 1 Alfa Romeo Fiorano testing

How Alfa’s shock F1 test reveals the most 2022 design secrets yet

Alfa Romeo’s C42 Formula 1 car for 2022 has broken cover early, after oddly setting a launch date after the first Barcelona test, and its first run at Fiorano has revealed some intriguing design secrets despite a camouflaged livery.

Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo C42
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The front wing appears to be more like the final spec that you’d expect to see in testing than what we’ve already seen from other teams.

Alfa has opted for a very unloaded outer section once again, having been the team that ran the most aggressive iteration when the regulations were changed in 2019.

Alfa Romeo C42 front detail

Alfa Romeo C42 front detail

Photo by: Davide Cavazza

The elements have all been flattened out as much as possible in the outermost section (red arrow), with this being made more obvious by the lifted section just inboard of that (blue arrow). 

Like the McLaren design, the central portion of the wing is also drooped in order to feed the underside of the wedged-shaped nose, which will in-turn feed the underfloor and sidepods.

The C42 has push-rod front suspension but the suspension layout is of interest with the forward arm of the upper wishbone placed very high up on the chassis. Also note how all of the suspension and steering arms are orientated downwards in an effort to guide the airflow into a desired location.

The front duct fence and wheel wake deflector (green arrow) has also been pushed away from the wheel assembly to help with cooling and better position the wake created for the aero surfaces downstream.

Alfa Romeo C42 sidepods and floor detail

Alfa Romeo C42 sidepods and floor detail

Photo by: Davide Cavazza

The central portion of the car is a bit of an amalgamation of what we’ve already seen from Aston Martin and McLaren, as it features a similar high-waisted sidepod with upper cooling gills and massive undercut like the AMR22 but shares a more intricate floor tunnel layout to the MCL36.

The tunnel has its own inner wall (blue arrow) and allows airflow captured on the car’s centre-line, beneath the chassis, a route onto the upper floor surface, which should better feed flow around the sidepod’s undercut. 

This does come with the compromise of not having the maximum height or width possible for the tunnel entrance but perhaps one outweighs the other, especially as two teams have now been seen with the feature. 

Also note how the floor's surface sweeps back and upwards around what is likely to be the lower side impact support spar (red arrow), given the sidepod itself is raised so far off the floor.

Alfa Romeo C42 floor detail

Alfa Romeo C42 floor detail

Photo by: Davide Cavazza

As we look at the floor from another angle we can see that Alfa Romeo is the first to include an ‘edge wing’ in the allowable space on the floor. The front edge of this aerodynamic device is lifted away from the floor's surface, with only a metal stay left to bridge the gap.

It’s also possible to see the rear section of one of the underfloor strakes from this angle, with the team appearing to orient them in a way that would deliver flow outboard.

At the rear of the floor we see another solution that’s been around during the previous regulation set, with a slot added and the floor geometry afterwards altered to impact the airflow's path (red arrow).

Alfa is the second team to opt for push-rod rear suspension, and has placed the inboard elements in a higher position to clear space for the now much larger diffuser.

Sauber C39 airbox detail

Sauber C39 airbox detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The team has also returned to the single blade-style rollhoop design that it used in 2018 (above). It’s a design that sees the airbox inlets set back from the blade to help improve flow into them and onwards down the car.

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