Alfa Romeo explain similarities between C43 and Red Bull’s dominant RB18

Michelle Foster
The Alfa Romeo C43.

The Alfa Romeo C43.

Alfa Romeo were inspired by the championship-winning RB18, drawing on the Red Bull design to resolve last year’s cooling issues with the new C43.

Last season Alfa Romeo suffered 10 retirements in 22 races on their way to sixth place in the Constructors’ Championship.

While some of those could be attributed to crashes and others to the dismal reliability of their Ferrari power unit, the car’s cooling system was responsible for almost half the DNFs.

It had technical director Jan Monchaux searching for a solution.

PlanetF1 recommends

Martin Brundle spots a problem with Alfa Romeo’s new C43 livery
Alfa Romeo tech chief concedes there will be porpoising: ‘I just hope it will be another team’
For the final time Alfa Romeo lift the covers off a Formula 1 car, the C43

“It was mainly related to the cooling system, we had four DNFs based on four different issue on the cooling systems,” he said at the launch of the C43. “It’s not like four times we repeated the same problem.

“We identified the root cause, and we are confident that this is behind us.

“And we also aim, because it’s one of our biggest priorities, to return in terms of reliability to where Sauber was in the years before, when were among the best. So lessons learned. So reliability is very big on our list.

“And we also hope and are generally quite confident that our friends from Maranello will also have done a big step, because it hampered us. We had eight DNFs, we had four or five penalties also because of PU elements.

“So it’s eight races which you throw away, plus four or five easy where you start more or less from the back.”

Red Bull-inspired solution

That solution, in part, came courtesy of Red Bull and their championship-winning RB18.

Revamping the rear of the car for the 2023 season, Monchaux revealed the team drew inspiration from Red Bull, solutions they would have liked to have put into place last season but it wasn’t possible given the difference in the rear suspension.

“Which you can see,” he continued. “I mean, it’s quite obvious, but for us it wouldn’t have been possible last year.

“Even if we had said we wanted it, we couldn’t make it, because coolers were so extreme, and the rear suspension wouldn’t have allowed that.”

In fact most of the changes from last year’s C42 to this year’s car relates to the rear.

“The rear end is certainly where we spent most effort,” he said, “most time to make up ground for us, in terms of topology of the rear and opening the door to further development.

“Especially on the bodywork side, which was not possible last year, because we had a quite extreme cooler arrangement. And we can’t change coolers during the season.

“So we had to do significant effort on the rear end to accommodate different cooler arrangements, and therefore different bodywork, which for us was a step forward.”

What’s next for the Alfa Romeo F1 team?

While a large part of the focus on Alfa Romeo, or should we say Sauber, is their 2026 link-up with Audi, the team still has three seasons between now and then.

Three seasons in which they need to improve their results.

Although the team was sixth last season, holding off Aston Martin at the very last race of the season, they were by no means involved in the battle at the very front of the midfield.

While Alfa scored 55 points, Alpine bagged 173 and McLaren 159.

At the moment Alfa Romeo Sauber have stability – same design team, same drivers, same engine. They need to capitalise on that to give Audi the best chance possible when they arrive in 2026 as the team’s new engine supplier.

Sauber need to resolve their chassis issues and get a grip on the floor’s vortexes so that Audi know whatever happens in 2026, that’s on their engine. The rest is as near to being spot on as it can be.