Pat Fry, Chief Technology Officer of Alpine F1, starts with the A522 produced in Enstone (chassis) and Viry (engine), a new era of F1.
It is very difficult for him to say who was right or wrong at this stage without having seen the single-seaters on the track, especially as the changes from previous single-seaters are drastic.
“It’s not just the shapes of the cars that are changing, but the technicality of the rules is much more complicated, so everyone is looking for how to exploit the formulations of the regulations.” Fry explains.
“The main changes are that F1 has moved from normal cars to ground effect cars. The floor will be much closer to the ground, there is a focus on aerodynamic flow stability and those will be the keys that we will have to learn.
“We have a new power unit this year, we worked as hard as possible because everything has been locked down for several years. There have been great efforts to prepare it this year. There was good cooperation between Enstone and Viry to get the most out of the car’s potential. and improve the engine.”
Deal with more unstable airflow
How to move quickly to the right solutions then? Fry admits that it will be necessary to learn from the A522, but also to put in place the right work organizations in the aftermath.
“The main thing for optimizing performance is aerodynamics and understanding how the car works. Part of my job is to make the team better for the future. We don’t just invest in what the car is, but also how to improve the team.”
“The team is based on three things: the people, the tools and the methodologies we use to create and develop a car. Everything has to work together and it’s a constant struggle to make the best of it.”
“You need an open mind. The rules were written with an aero concept in hand, but you need to understand better because the cars will be closer to the ground and the airflow will be more choppy at times. You need to understand that better.”
“With this set of rules, there are a lot of safety measures, which is fantastic. The loads have increased a lot on the chassis and we have a lot more weight. It will be a big challenge to get closer to the minimum weight limit, and we try to save every gram possible.”
Ten F1, ten different technical “options”
The track and the clock never lie and it will be up to Pat Fry the final justice of the peace to know what the areas of strengths and weaknesses will be for this first 2022-2025 generation Alpine. And it’s also different from the other nine single-seaters.
“During the tests we will learn a lot, we will have an idea of what this technical regulation means, and we will discover nine other options that derive from it. nine.”
“There will be big improvements in performance, and also, the car that we will see in the first tests will have big changes before the second week and the first Grand Prix. The development war is already underway.”
“Let’s look at the other cars. We know that we will see many other ways, other solutions, but we know that with time it will get closer.
“During development, you come to a crossroads and choose one side, others choose another. We are interested to see how others will have chosen and developed solutions that we decided to discard.”
“It’s great to see the other solutions, you see what we’ve done, you see the results, but it’s very interesting to see how other groups of engineers have solved the same problem. It’s a lot of fun, and that’s what makes testing and the first few races exciting. .”