Solidity is the distinctive quality in the new Alpine A524: Not a shot in the dark for the Enstone-and-Viry-based team, but rather a profound refinement of the concept of last year's car.
The major innovations, it seems reasonable to argue, are hidden under the bodywork. We mean that to refine the aerodynamic concept of the car, particular emphasis has been placed on the packaging of the power unit, its accessories and the gearbox.
Noticeably at the front is a change in the philosophy, with the wing no longer characterised by a raised central section but rather by a sort of spoon, practically coplanar to the lateral sections of the wing.
The sidepods have oblong inlets instead of the square ones that characterised last year's car and are equipped, as already seen in the case of the Sauber, with a lower lip which has the function of directing the airflow downwards. This flow is channelled into the deeply sculpted lower section of the sidepods.
The upper profile slopes at the rear section as it did on the A523 to divert the flow to the base of the diffuser area. At the rear, the compactness of the transmission stands out.
While maintaining the same layout of the suspension elements, in a direct comparison with the previous car they are advanced by approximately 8-10 cm and they have been integrated at the level of the rear arm of the upper wishbone, in the rear wing support that surrounds the exhaust pipe.
This indicates a profoundly different design of the central section of the diffuser, increasing the volume of the airflow extracted from the Venturi channels located underneath the car. The greater compactness already indicates not only a different distribution of downforce points along the car bodywork but a different weight distribution as Alpine Technical Director Matt Harman confirmed during the launch.
With this objective, the position of the Energy Storage and some elements of the ERS have been moved towards the rear. Ultimately, this a single-seater that should have, on paper, already succeeded in eliminating the defects of the previous car without distorting the project.
That works as a strong base for the upcoming developments in Bahrain and across the first half of the season.