(Motorsport-Total.com) – 2022 Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda’s Formula 1 season has been a roller coaster ride so far. Depending on the race track, their AlphaTauri performance varied greatly. The car performed well on circuits with slow corners, such as Monaco or Baku, but the AT03 had a much harder time in the fast sections.
The team was aware of the issue, and a major update that debuted at last weekend’s French Grand Prix aimed to make the car perform better in all conditions and corners – not just some special ones.
Guillaume Dezoteux, Head of Vehicle Performance at AlphaTauri, says: “This update was mainly about the underbody, the whole underbody. Starting with the intake, the geometry of the wind deflectors, the geometry of the floor edges and the geometry of the diffuser and diffuser. the body around it’.
A completely different bottom structure
“The structure of the bottom of the body is completely different and aims to generate downforce in most of the positions the car takes on the wheel. From this point of view, this update lives up to expectations, we get additional downforce in many conditions: low speed, medium. -Fast corners, high body roll, low body roll” , Dezoteux continued.
With the new parts, the design DNA of the AT03 hasn’t changed drastically. They also didn’t bring any mechanical changes, as the team preferred to change what was already there.
The biggest of these changes, at least from an aesthetic point of view, was the Red Bull-style upper side and bonnet shoulders, using revised geometry to create a larger airflow channel.
Not only does this improve local refinement, but it also helps the air flow through the side pipes towards the coke bottle area as it is further protected by the raised body sides.
The team also changed the floor of the tunnel. The geometry and position of the wind deflectors at the entrance to the tunnel has been changed, and the outer duct has been significantly shortened.
This allows them to merge seamlessly, creating an eddy current that helps control the vortex created by the front tire, which can affect aerodynamic performance.
In order for the wing to benefit from the expected performance improvements, the team also revised its design. A vertical flap was added at the rear that lifts off the ground (red arrow, old specs).
The team says this should help improve the formation of lower edge vortices and therefore direct more load away from the rear of the floor and diffuser.
With this vortex directed towards the diffuser, the team also decided to change the design of the diffuser sidewall by removing the mouse hole cutout (see red arrow) and using a continuous bottom edge.
© Giorgio Piola
As the team described, this allows the diffuser to hold more load and take advantage of better flow in front of the diffuser.
Although the car looked “sharper” in practice on Friday, the pace slowed on Saturday and both drivers struggled in both qualifying and the race.
However, the challenging nature of Le Castellet, with high track temperatures that are particularly demanding on the front axle, may explain why the form of many teams was mixed over the weekend.
A much better picture of what the AlphaTauri upgrade has brought should be seen this weekend at a medium speed track in Hungary.