Alfa Romeo’s Technical Director Jan Monchaux has outlined the changes the team has made to its 2023 car, the C43, and explained the decision to prioritise improvements to the rear end.
After numerous livery launches in the past week, the Hinwil-based squad became the first side on the Formula 1 grid to reveal their official car for the 2023 season, featuring some noticeable alterations to the rear-end bodywork and floor region.
While Alfa Romeo began 2022 extremely strongly – scoring 51 points in the opening nine races – the Italian marque’s competitiveness tailed off as the campaign progressed, with rear instability in high-speed corners noted as a particular weakness of last year’s package.
Speaking after the launch of the Sauber Group’s final car sporting Alfa Romeo colours ahead of the entity’s planned transition to Audi for 2026, Monchaux noted how evaluating other team’s concepts last year highlighted the limitations of their design, meaning an overhaul to the rear end of the C43 became a necessary focus point over the winter.
“We’ve been seeing the evolution of the new cars, the new regs last year, and had to acknowledge that there was a better solution how to manage the flow to the diffuser, so the flow going to the rear tyres,” Monchaux said.
“But because of the decision we had made on an architectural point of view we were stuck in a corner. So we effectively have been doing the changes.
“So it’s not a revolution. Similar solutions were on the grid already last year, but it’s something we couldn’t implement without a major change of the architecture and it’s also what we’ve been doing there.
“We also think, and from what we’ve seen, some of the weaknesses we had on an aero point of view, which was effectively in a very simplistic way high-speed performance, has been also significantly improving thanks to also the new potential we unleashed with this new bodywork and this new way of working the floor between the rear tyres.”
Alfa Romeo was one of the few teams to continue upgrading its car last year towards the end of the season as it sought to address its mid-season slump. The introduction of a revised front wing enabled the team to score points again and narrowly hold onto sixth place in the Constructors’ Championship.
Although Monchaux has countered that plenty of work has also gone into upgrading the front of the car, the French technical boss has argued the limits of the regulations in that area – along with the team’s limited wind tunnel testing time – led to Alfa Romeo prioritising renovations at the rear end.
“Well the front end is more difficult in terms of development in the numerical world and in the wind tunnel let’s say the return on the investment is smaller,” Monchaux considered.
“It doesn’t mean there is no performance. I mean, as long as we are not first on the timing sheet, we have performance to grab everywhere. But since you’ve got limited amount of wind tunnel runs to test and you’ve got also limited resources, at some point you need to make strategic calls.
“Where am I investing the majority of my resources? Am I more in favour of doing one thing properly than starting five different dishes and then end up with solutions that are just marginally better?
“So the front end, don’t worry, we’ve been working on and that would be also significant changes being presented at least at the start of the season. But it’s generally speaking for us is an area where we struggle more to put performance because of the constraint also of the regulation, then on the floor which is offering a lot more freedom.
“Also when you look at what was done last year, throughout the pit lane, there is a clear sign that people have been working hard or bringing more update on the floor than on the front wing.
“And it’s simply because it’s more difficult to bring performance through the front wing with those rules but there’s still performance, no doubt about that,” he reflected.
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