After a difficult year by their standards, Alpine have promised a ‘completely new’ F1 car to come when the A524 is launched in February.
Alpine dropped to sixth in the Constructors’ standings in 2023 as Aston Martin and McLaren found significant performance gains to see them close the gap to the front, with the French constructor looking to do the same in 2024.
Technical director Matt Harman admitted the team struggled to “get to grips” with the A523 in the early rounds of last season, and a total overhaul of their car is set to come for 2024.
Alpine A524 set to be ‘completely new from front to back’ in F1 2024 season
Although Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly scored a podium each in Monaco and the Netherlands respectively, the strides made by Alpine’s midfield rivals have left ‘Team Enstone’ with ground to make up heading into the coming season.
Their technical director admitted it was unusual for them to not quite understand their car from the off last season, taking a little while to get on top of it.
“We didn’t really get to grips with the car until the second, third, maybe fourth event,” Harman told Formula1.com.
“That’s quite unlike us. We have a very capable trackside engineering team – in conjunction with the factory, [but] it took us a while to get to grips with that.
“It’s not because it’s difficult to set up, it’s because the window is so narrow – so you’re having to make compromises. It’s tricky. You go to a circuit where ride is important to the driver – and we can’t put the car there because of the performance loss.”
Having learned from the experiences of the last two seasons of ground effect regulations, Harman has explained the team will be conducting a significant overhaul on the car as it gets set to go racing again in 2024.
“We didn’t do as well as we did on the A522 – we had a great year that year,” Harman said.
“Every time we touched the development of the car, we put load on, and we took a lot of weight off the car – there was a lot of performance to be had.
“It’s become trickier. You have to get into more detail so we have to be more careful in how we invest the money. I don’t think this year has been as successful as the A522.
“That’s why for the following year’s car we have had to unlock some real estate again, which is why the car is completely new from front to back. You’ll see that up and down the grid because the car has to last for a couple of years while we look for the future.”