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Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis
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Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis

Tech insight: A closer look at the Alfa Romeo C39

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Tech insight: A closer look at the Alfa Romeo C39
By:
Co-author: Matthew Somerfield
Feb 19, 2020, 10:37 AM

Alfa Romeo teased fans a few days ago with images of the C39 in a shakedown livery ahead of pre-season testing. Revealing its car in full livery on Wednesday has now given us a chance to appreciate some of its new design aspects

Alfa Romeo C39 detail

Alfa Romeo C39 detail

Photo by: Alfa Romeo

Alfa led the charge last year when it came to the ‘unloaded’ style front wing, perhaps with even the most aggressive variant on the grid. It’s business as usual on that front for 2020 too, with the team still employing a very lowly hung outboard section.

However, where we do see change is in the curled mainplane and secondary flap, which will encourage more airflow under the wing.

Alfa Romeo Racing C38 front wing detail

Alfa Romeo Racing C38 front wing detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

This is last year's front wing as a comparison, which as we can see has a much blunter approach than the C39’s design.

Alfa Romeo C39 detail

Alfa Romeo C39 detail

Photo by: Alfa Romeo

Alfa already had a tri-inlet arrangement at the front of its car last year, in order to benefit from the airflow being able to pass down through the structure.

However, this year it appears to have opted for a little bit of style over substance, as the central inlet now has the distinctive Alfa Romeo grille shape to it.

Alfa Romeo C39 detail

Alfa Romeo C39 detail

Photo by: Alfa Romeo

The sidepod arrangement is very similar to last year but there are significant alterations when it comes to their bargeboards, deflectors and associated aero parts. The C39 now sports a twin boomerang arrangement, in a similar fashion to the ones seen over at Ferrari.

The uppermost element blends into the new deflector panel, which has a new distinctive shape to the leading element and is accompanied by two of the Venetian blind-style panels that reach back to tall vertical elements.

Alfa Romeo C39 detail

Alfa Romeo C39 detail

Photo by: Alfa Romeo

Alfa was an early adopter of the upright extension solution on its front suspension, which lifts the upper wishbone into a more aerodynamically desirable location. However, it has taken this a step further still for 2020, raising the entire front suspension substantially, with the lower wishbone now much closer to the wheel centre. 

Alfa Romeo C39 detail

Alfa Romeo C39 detail

Photo by: Alfa Romeo

Currently there’s no sign of the hedgehog fins that protruded from the vanity panel on last year's car but that’s not to say that the team doesn’t have something up its sleeve for future application.

Alfa Romeo Racing C38 fins

Alfa Romeo Racing C38 fins

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The hedgehog vanes used by Alfa on their C38.

Alfa Romeo C39 detail

Alfa Romeo C39 detail

Photo by: Alfa Romeo

Alfa has followed Ferrari's lead this season in utilising a trapezoidal airbox and roll over structure. However, a large cooling hood is also placed behind this in order to feed the plethora of coolers and ancillaries buried behind the power unit.

Alfa Romeo C39 detail

Alfa Romeo C39 detail

Photo by: Alfa Romeo

A huge amount of work has gone into the contouring of the C39's rear wing in order to reduce the drag that's created at the wing tips. You'll note how the leading edge of the endplate leans away from the horizontal and curves in toward the rear cutout to achieve this. Enforcing this effort are several rows of upwash strikes too.

Alfa Romeo Racing C38 rear wing detail

Alfa Romeo Racing C38 rear wing detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Alfa introduced this rear wing endplate design feature on the C38 having seen it applied to the STR14.

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About this article

Series Formula 1
Teams Alfa Romeo
Author Giorgio Piola