Alpine: Wind tunnel issues cost us weeks of development time

The Alpine Formula 1 team says the wind tunnel problems it experienced over the winter cost it several weeks of development time – which translated in to lost tenths of a second per lap.

Alpine: Wind tunnel issues cost us weeks of development time

The Enstone-based outfit has had a more difficult start to the season than expected, as it has fallen away from the front of the midfield pack.

However, it has been making rapid progress in recent weeks in bringing improvements to its A521 car and its drivers Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso enjoyed a stronger performance in practice in Portugal on Friday.

Reflecting on the wind tunnel problem which was revealed recently, Alpine’s executive director Marcin Budkowski said that there were two main headaches the team faced.

“We had issues related to the actual changed regulations and the actual various flow features that it kind of induced on the car,” he said. “And we had issues with hardware, if you want, the tunnel and the testing as well.

“So the consequence is not that we lost more performance than others, or lost differently, it’s just that we lost time if you want, development time which is a valuable currency in Formula 1.

“Everybody has the same amount of testing they can do, it’s limited by regulation, so when you are trying to stabilise your aerodynamic flow features or you’re trying to get your tunnel to give you the right numbers the others, during this time, continue developing the car and put performance in it. So that’s effectively what happened.

“We lost a few weeks of development and weeks of development just transformed into tenths of seconds.”

Read Also:

Budkowski thinks the issues Alpine faced were a one-off and have now been cured, so the team should not suffer any deficit as it begins switching over to 2022 developments.

“We’ve solved our issues so we continue to invest and improve our wind tunnel and fingers crossed, we don’t get issues again next year,” he said.

“But certainly it’s up to us to improve our understanding and our development capabilities.”

Although Alpine is bringing more pace to its car, Budkowski confesses that the performance gap to Ferrari and McLaren is still too big for its liking at the moment.

“We are working hard on trying to improve the car. We brought some developments to Imola, we have done some more testing [in Portugal], so we are making small steps in terms of improving the performance of the car,” he said.

“But the gap to the guys we’d like to fight with, the McLarens and the Ferraris, is a bit too much at the moment. So we are still working to close it but it will be tricky to do that in the next few races.”

shares
comments

Related video

Vettel struggling with car inconsistency, says Aston Martin

Previous article

Vettel struggling with car inconsistency, says Aston Martin

Next article

Imola 1994: Memories from Ayrton Senna’s F1 rivals

Imola 1994: Memories from Ayrton Senna’s F1 rivals
Load comments
The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career Prime

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career

Emerson Fittipaldi’s decision to go racing with his brother led to him falling out of F1, but he bloomed again on the IndyCar scene. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers a career of two halves

Formula 1
Jul 31, 2021
Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track' Prime

Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track'

Mercedes ended Friday practice at the Hungaroring with a clear gap to Red Bull thanks to Valtteri Bottas’s pace in topping FP2. But there are other reasons why the Black Arrows squad feels satisfied with its progress so far at a track many Formula 1 observers reckon favours Red Bull overall...

Formula 1
Jul 30, 2021
How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks Prime

How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks

OPINION: Red Bull was justified to be upset that Lewis Hamilton survived his British GP clash with Max Verstappen and went on to win. But its attempts to lobby the FIA to reconsider the severity of Hamilton's in-race penalty were always likely to backfire, and have only succeeded in creating a PR disaster that will distract from its on-track efforts

Formula 1
Jul 30, 2021
The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach Prime

The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach

OPINION: It wasn't just the Verstappen/Hamilton clash that had the Red Bull and Mercedes bosses at loggerheads at Silverstone, with the nature of Formula 1's 2025 engines also subject for disagreement. But hopes to have loud, emotive engines that are also environmentally friendly don't have to be opposed.

Formula 1
Jul 29, 2021
How Lotus uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’ Prime

How Lotus uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’

Cast in the mould of its founder Colin Chapman, Lotus was powerful and daring but flawed – as it proved through further soaring peaks and painful troughs into the 1980s. DAMIEN SMITH examines a game-changing era

Formula 1
Jul 27, 2021
The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address Prime

The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address

OPINION: Changes to the layout of Abu Dhabi’s circuit aim to reverse the trend of insipid Formula 1 races there - the promoter has even described one of the new corners as “iconic”. And that, argues STUART CODLING, is one of this venue’s abiding failings

Formula 1
Jul 26, 2021
How Ferrari offered Callum Ilott what Red Bull couldn't Prime

How Ferrari offered Callum Ilott what Red Bull couldn't

Last year's Formula 2 runner-up Callum Ilott could be on his way to becoming the first Briton to contest a grand prix in an Alfa Romeo since Reg Parnell in 1950. But, says Oleg Karpov, the Ferrari Driver Academy protege is having to temper his ambition at the moment – outwardly at least…

Formula 1
Jul 25, 2021
The signs that point to F1's rude health Prime

The signs that point to F1's rude health

OPINION: Formula 1's calendar might still be facing disruption as the pandemic affects travel but, says Mark Gallagher, the business itself is fundamentally strong thanks to the epic rivalry taking place on track and the consistent arrival of new sponsors.

Formula 1
Jul 24, 2021