How COVID forced Alpine to overcome the key weakness of F1

Alpine Racing CEO Bruno Famin believes the remote communication practices caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have helped improve collaboration between chassis and team engines.

Improved integration of the chassis team, based in Enstone, UK, and the Renault Sport engine drive in Viry-Chatillon, France, was one of the goals of Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi for this equipment.

Earlier this year, Rossi said that the opportunity for greater chassis and engine integration “potentially puts us at an advantage”.

Famin, who oversees the Renault Sport F1 engine program in Viry as part of his role, believes the relative performance improvement of the powertrain is “proof of concept” in terms of how effective attempts at greater integration have been.

“Maybe COVID helped us along the way,” Famin said when asked by The Race how the collaboration has improved.

“COVID has done everything, everywhere, [adopt] a new way of working together.

“If you have one guy working in Viry and one in Enstone, it’s more or less the same to have one guy in Viry and have one guy working from your home 20 miles from Viry.

“It’s a new way of working together. Of course, we have to send the right signs from the top management, and together with Otmar [Szafnauer, team principal]Pat Fry [chief technical officer]with Matt Harman [technical director]we’re exactly on the same line, sending real messages to our guys.

“The fact that the 2022 engine and cars are back in the game is proof of the concept.

“Guys realize it’s a path on all levels. And on top of that we send the right signals to the guys, everything works the right way.

“We will not fail in the one with Otmar. We know it’s a road to victory and we’re really going to push everyone along the way. “

On the eve of the season, technical director Matt Harman commented on the packaging of the power unit, which allows the team “to express itself aerodynamically and achieve the final time of the car’s passage”.

Among the design changes was the adoption of the split turbo concept, which Mercedes first used in F1 2015, and Honda adopted in 2017.

Famin spoke about the benefits of a holistic approach to car / engine design and how real trade-offs in engine packaging have contributed to a competitive car.

“It’s a good example of what I’ve been saying, mostly better packaging,” Famin said of the split turbo design.

“It’s the type of choice we made together with Enstone. Not the only one, but it is an example of improved car packaging, better aero, lower center of gravity and better car.

“The alpine car is the one that will bring results and win points.”

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Packaging improvements have been combined with better engine performance, and it is now estimated that Renault will give only about 10 hp to Ferrari’s powertrain.

Famin attributes much of these overall gains to improved integration and cooperation, which it hopes will pay dividends in the future.

Although Alpine is still a solid midfielder for F1, last year Rossi came up with a 100-race plan to become the leader. This means that Alpine is now working on going to the front during 2024.

“Not only has power been improved, but chassis integration to enable aerodynamics and chassis guys to make a better car,” Famin said. “Our goal is to make the best car, not just the best engine.

“Our role at Viry is to make the best car together with Enstone and we are really on that line to continue to improve the way we work between Enstone and Viry, to work as one team.

“We work with Enstone on a daily basis and send the right signals to our guys to keep going [pushing].

“I think 2022 is already successful because we are back in the game in terms of performance.

“It’s kind of proof of the concept of how to work together, how to work better with Enstone. Then everyone will be happy to keep pushing that way. ”

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