Alpine’s overweight issue laid bare by the team’s former technical director

Michelle Foster
Alpine drivers pull into the pits with Pierre Gasly ahead of Esteban Ocon

Pierre Gasly has downplayed suggestions Alpine's A524 is 10kg overweight.

Amidst rumours Alpine’s A524 is overweight, the team’s former technical director Matt Harman has revealed “one” crash test in particular created the problem.

According to reports, Alpine’s 2024 car, which qualified on the back row of the grid at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix and then failed to make it out of Q1 in Saudi Arabia, is overweight.

What caused Alpine’s 2024 weight problem?

That is said to be by as much as 10 to 11 kilograms, a few reports putting that as high as 15kgs over the 798kg minimum limit.

Point-less after the two races, Pierre Gasly refuted that number, saying while the car is heavier than they’d like it to be, it’s not as big as has been suggested.

“It’s not as bad as you mentioned,” he told the media, including PlanetF1.com. “There is some weight to be [lost], there is some performance to come on the chassis, there will be upgrades.”

At the time it was claimed that Alpine’s weight troubles came from a failed crash test with the team having to reinforce the bodywork after the car failed the lateral load test of the monocoque.

That was a specific area where the Renault-powered team had incorporated weight-saving measures but they weren’t up to the test.

It begs the question, how badly did the crash-test failures impact the A524?

Former Alpine tech director Harman told Motorsport.com: “Not some, it was one in particular. It has played a bit of a part in some of that.

“But let’s not forget, we need to push very hard [with the crash tests]. Failing nothing is an easy thing to do. We can definitely do that.

“I think the people back at Enstone reacted and responded amazingly to that. And I’m very proud of everyone. We were at the filming day. We were at the test with a very, very good reliability. Now we just need to correct that master ship.”

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Alpine, though, he revealed had plans in place prior to his departure to rectify the problem.

“They know exactly where the weight is, and know how to take it out,” he said. “It’s just mostly about exercising operational system and getting it to the car.”

Harman will no longer be a part of that process having resigned along with Alpine’s head of aero Dirk de Beer, the Enstone team since adopting a three-pronged technical director approach.

Instead, implementing a system of technical directors for aerodynamics, engineering and performance, team boss Bruno Famin explained: “It was a shock because we were really expecting a difficult start of the season, we knew this, and this is what we said during the launch of our car.

“But to be on the last row in the qualifying was a shock, to be honest. And it just confirmed the need of changing in our team, and we made the change.

“We really want to bring to the factories what we have done trackside by the end of the last season. I mean, changing the mindset, unleashing the creativity and having three technical directors makes the organisation much more horizontal, much less vertical.

“More activity, more agility, and really the motto is really to develop our people.”

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