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Alpine F1 Team

Alpine share challenges of battling 'ridiculous' F1 car trait

Technical director Matt Harman has shared what he believes is a "ridiculous" characteristic of modern F1 cars in an exclusive interview with RacingNews365.com.

Esteban Ocon Alpine Brazilian GP 2022 Friday 02
To news overview © XPBimages

Alpine technical director Matt Harman agrees that the weight of modern Formula 1 is 'ridiculous' and has shared unintended consequences of the recent gain.

The weight of Grand Prix cars has climbed significantly in recent years with increased safety features such as the halo and impact structures being coupled with the heavy turbo hybrid power units to push the weight to 798kg including the driver in the 2022 campaign.

In comparison, the 2005 Renault R25 machine weighed 605kg, a gain of nearly 200kg in just under 20 years.

While Harman admitted the 'ridiculous' nature of this weight gain, he did also point to a serious safety aspect that the increased mass creates.

Increased crash loads for cars

"We were up 30% on crash loads [in 2022]," Harman exclusively told RacingNews365.com.

"It was a massive engineering task to get through those tests and it was probably one of the most worrying aspects of homologating the car - because they take a long time to manufacture and if you have an off, you've really got to concentrate.

"For us, that really was quite a worry, but we worked hard on the weight of our car through the season, but we stopped at a certain point because it becomes inefficient to take it off a car.

"You need to [focus] your effort to take it off next year's car, so we have to manage it quite carefully, but I am really proud of what the team has done.

"We've taken quite a considerable amount of weight out of next year's car, and some of that is to do with understanding the cars boundary conditions more, so understanding some of the loadings, or the suspension.

"We've been able to do some of this just through clever engineering and different systems that we've put in the car to reduce the weight.

"I'm pretty sure that there won't be a car on the grid next year that's so over the weight limit, I'm hopeful that our car will be quite considerably under so we can actually move some ballast around."

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Weight saving in cost cap era

With team's now restricted in the amount of money they can spend throughout a season by the cost cap, a balance needs to be struck between shaving the excess off and adding upgrades.

It is something Harman says Alpine were focused on from as early as the fifth round of the season - in Miami.

"We took almost half of our 'overweight-ness' off the car in the first three, four or five races and then we stopped.

"Because after that, our money is better spent on performance in floors, wings, bodywork because in the end, the weight is 32 milliseconds per kilo.

"You get to a point where actually to take a kilo off the car is quite an expensive thing to do - and you're better off just putting on the next aerodynamic upgrade."

Also interesting:

Video: How expensive is champagne in F1?

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But what are the origins of this world-famous tradition? And with so many litres of this luxury drink sprayed throughout the season, how much money does such a champagne shower actually cost?

Check out our handy explainer video below.

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Interviews RN365 News dossier