‘Suddenly everyone’s an expert, ‘oh, a big fin”

Michelle Foster
Fernando Alonso speaking at the launch of the Alpine A522. France February 2022

Double World Champion Fernando Alonso speaking at the launch of the Alpine A522. France February 2022

Fernando Alonso believes it will be “very difficult” for rivals to copy each others’ designs, but that doesn’t mean Pat Fry isn’t going to try if Alpine see something interesting.

Formula 1 welcomes a new era this season of ground effect aerodynamics, the teams designing completely new cars under a different philosophy to yesteryear.

While F1’s powers-that-think have done all they can to ensure there are no loopholes, the whole point of the new regulations is to create closer racing, time will tell if anyone has comes up with that one innovation that sets them apart.

Formula 1 will have its first look at the all-new cars in a group setting on Wednesday with pre-season testing underway the Circuit de Catalunya.

Sky Sport’s Ted Kravitz is predicting a few “controversies” to arise as the teams debate the legality of their rivals’ designs.

Asked if he’d already been checking out the competition, Alonso told The Race: “No, that’s for you guys and for social media.

“It’s like everyone is an expert, you know, on fins, and you see a detail on the car and are just like ‘oh, a big fin!’.”

The double World Champion also ruled out the teams being able to easily incorporate each others’ innovations.

“And I think no-one has any idea of how the whole package works because the flow starts on the front wing and then it works differently for each of the cars,” he said.

“So it’s not that you can see something in one car and immediately copy on your car. Because maybe the flow is not going through that particular section of the car.

“I think it’s a very difficult exercise to do. So, yeah, I don’t know – I like the cars, they look they have, as a general concept I think they looked good, but not [looking] in the details of performance.”

That, though, doesn’t mean Alpine chief technical officer Pat Fry won’t try.

“The first two tests and the early races there’s going to be a massive step in learning,” he said.

“We’ve obviously had our own ideas of what this set of rules means. We’re going to see nine other options of what that is. We’ll try and pick the best pieces out of everything.

“We’re learning all the time in our own windtunnel. We get the luxury of looking at the results of nine other windtunnels. So we can actually understand and just make a better car.

“There’s going to be a huge increase in performance. And we’ve already got a load of upgrades coming through for the second test and the first race.

“So this development battle is under way, but it will really step up once we start analysing closely what all the other cars’ solutions are.”

Ferrari have already revealed that something they saw, undisclosed, on a rival’s car has been included on their own F1-75.

 

“We will see if there are any interesting ideas we can adopt,” team boss Mattia Binotto told F1-Insider.

“On the F1-75, there is already a detail from a car that was presented in the past few days, and especially in this first phase we will all be watching each other very closely.”

 

PlanetF1 Verdict

 

Alpine ready to copy rivals’ designs

Fernando Alonso believes that it will be difficult for rivals to copy designs.