Alfa Romeo tech chief concedes there will be porpoising: ‘I just hope it will be another team’

Michelle Foster
Alfa Romeo C43 up close

Jan Monchaux doesn’t believe the FIA’s floor tweaks will eradicate porpoising, but he claims all the data says it shouldn’t hamper Alfa Romeo’s pre-season preparations.

That, he reckons, would be a “nightmare” for the second year running.

Last season Alfa Romeo’s C42 suffered with porpoising, costing Valtteri Bottas and his team-mate Zhou Guanyu track time during the first pre-season outing in Spain.

As the season progressed several drivers voiced concerns about the long-term effect on their health given the extreme bouncing, forcing the FIA to get involved.

Motorsport’s governing body has implemented a few changes ahead of the new season that included raising the floor edges by 15mm as well as the diffuser throat height.

Monchaux, Alfa Romeo’s technical director, hopes this year the team has managed to delay the bouncing to the point of “effectively never” experiencing it with the new C43.

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“I hope not,” he said when asked if the team was worried about porpoising in testing, “because we have only three days of testing and we were caught in a similar situation last year.

“It would be a nightmare if we spend a day, day and a half, trying to fix the car like happened last year during the first test in Barcelona.

“The hopes are quite high, what the CFD said and all the metrics we developed in-house is that the topic will be delayed because you can’t get rid fully of the phenomenon, you can just postpone and delay the moment it is triggered.

“I hope with the change of the rules and the work we’ve been doing developing the new floor it will be delayed up to a point where we effectively never get there.

“We probably will have some porpoising, I just hope it will be another team and not us.”

This season the teams have just three days of pre-season testing to resolve any niggles, the cars in action in Bahrain from February 23 to 25.

Prior to that, though, Alfa Romeo will put the C43 through its paces in a shakedown at the Silverstone circuit.

Monchaux admits a smooth start “doesn’t mean slow, it will have to be a quick ramp-up.

“The car is being developed basically virtually so the shakedown is the first big milestone to make sure the cooling layout, the hydraulic parts, all the electronic – and believe me it’s a nightmare – is working.

“So it’s really the first milestone to tick and get a measurement from the track and see if they are in line with our expectations.

“Then when we got to Bahrain a couple of days later it’s about really getting an understanding about the tyres, because Pirelli are bringing new tyres, and preparing for the season.

“A mix of short runs and long runs to effectively get an understanding of the tyres. And hopefully having absolutely zero problems with reliability so as soon as the light turns green we are out and we are in when it’s red again because we need to put mileage on the car.”