Alpine explains bulky airbox after "body shaming"

Alpine's executive director Marcin Budkowski has explained the team's decision for its bulky airbox on its 2021 Formula 1 car, saying he was "surprised by the amount of body shaming".

Alpine explains bulky airbox after "body shaming"
Listen to this article

When Esteban Ocon took Alpine's new car onto the track at the start of pre-season testing in Bahrain on Friday, the bulbous airbox and engine cover on the A521 immediately caught the eye of observers and fans.

While F1 teams usually tend to package the power unit as tightly as possible, Alpine's radically different design looked like a throwback to the 70s, when giant engine covers were briefly in vogue.

Budkowski quipped he was "a bit surprised by the amount of body shaming on our car" but explained the Enstone team's design choice was rooted in aerodynamics.

"It’s a technical choice, we found that slimming the sidepods was a positive direction, which is nothing new really," Budkowski said on Saturday.

"We’ve repackaged and relocated some of the bulky things in the car, and we’ve put them behind the air inlet. Yes, it gives a fairly spectacularly bulky shape in the car, but it works for us.

"There are centre of gravity compromises, but usually aero performance wins over weight and centre of gravity."

ANALYSIS: What’s behind Alpine's jumbo airbox?

Fernando Alonso, Alpine A521

Fernando Alonso, Alpine A521

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

During the off-season F1 teams were hard at work to find new solutions to the floor area, the aero performance of which has been curtailed by the tweaked 2021 regulations.

Read Also:

Budkowski said his team was intrigued by the design solutions its rivals came up with as every outfit in the paddock finally got a chance to take a look at the competition.

"We’re pretty much as everyone else in the pit lane, we’re looking at pictures of other cars, the engineers back at the factory are going through pictures and going to see if there’s good ideas or not on the car," Budkowski added.

"I think there’s interesting things on any car. The area that has changed the most is the kind of rear part of the floor, which is where the regulation changes were.

"The rear end of the car and obviously the complex areas that are the usual suspects; front wing, bargeboards, are the ones we’re looking at."

shares
comments

Related video

Verstappen: Red Bull not favourite despite Mercedes troubles
Previous article

Verstappen: Red Bull not favourite despite Mercedes troubles

Next article

Verstappen quickest as Bahrain F1 test ends

Verstappen quickest as Bahrain F1 test ends
The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Prime

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Prime

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022
The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon Prime

The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s teammate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy Prime

How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022
Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Prime

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022
What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi Prime

What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi

Arguably the favourite in the battle to finish second-best in 2022's Formula 1 standings, Sergio Perez's two-stop strategy at Abu Dhabi couldn't take him ahead of Charles Leclerc when the music stopped - and several key factors ultimately precluded him from the much-coveted runner-up spot.

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2022
The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success Prime

The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success

OPINION: Charles Leclerc achieved his target of sealing runner-up in the 2022 world championship with a masterful drive behind Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi. And that race contained key elements that may help him, and Ferrari, go one better in Formula 1 2023

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022
2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2022 Formula 1 season came to a close at the Yas Marina Circuit, where the battle for second in the standings was decided, the wins in a season record extended and a retiring four-time world champion bowed out on a high. Here's how we rated the drivers

Formula 1
Nov 21, 2022