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

Ricciardo tried new driving style in F1 sim before Portugal

Ricciardo tried new driving style in F1 sim before Portugal
Load comments
Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Prime

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Prime

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Prime

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Motorsport.com's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer Tim Wright explains.

Formula 1
Dec 1, 2021
How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher Prime

The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles as a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021