AlphaTauri, the sister team of Red Bull Racing, currently occupies the bottom position in the constructors’ standings with just two points, while Williams, the team ahead, has accumulated five points. This disappointing performance, which followed a ninth-place finish in 2022, prompted the new management at Red Bull to consider selling the Faenza-based team. However, they have now decided to rebrand AlphaTauri and concentrate their operations in Bicester, while also sharing more technology with the defending champion, Red Bull.
In preparation for the planned restructuring in 2024, AlphaTauri will introduce a significantly upgraded AT04 car for the upcoming Silverstone round. The team has made eight significant modifications, which have been submitted to the FIA for approval.
Three of the changes focus on revamping the floor design. By raising the leading edge, the local pressure is reduced, leading to improved effectiveness of the ground-effects seal and increased downforce. AlphaTauri explains that compared to previous floor edges, the new geometry modifies the rearward part of the floor edge wing and extends it inboard at the rearward extremity, featuring a cut-out in the floor edge to accommodate the changes.
These modifications will be complemented by revised fences and adjusted geometry, which will generate stronger vorticity from fence-shedding edges, resulting in further increased load.
Additionally, the vertical sidewalls of the diffuser have been modified to enhance outwash and minimize airflow disruption caused by the wake from the rear tires.
To generate more load from the floor edge due to improved flow quality, the maximum width of the engine cover bodywork has been increased. The team states that this adjustment generates higher static pressure, reducing the impact of front wheel wake losses on the bodywork during yaw and steer.
A new winglet has been added behind the rearmost top wishbone of the rear suspension to marginally increase the load generated by the brake duct assembly.
The medium downforce-specification rear wing has undergone a redesign to concentrate the airflow load down the middle of the component, away from the outboard sections, by adopting a more elliptical shape.
Although these modifications are not expected to increase overall downforce, AlphaTauri hopes to achieve reduced drag, thereby improving straight-line efficiency and top speed. To further reduce drag, the flap from the beam wing has been completely removed.
These changes mark the most extensive modifications made by AlphaTauri this season. They also come after the departure of their head of aerodynamics, Dickon Balmforth, following team principal Franz Tost’s criticism of the engineering team earlier in the year. Tost expressed his lack of trust in Balmforth, stating that the individual is no longer part of the team.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about upgraded F1 car
What changes have been made to AlphaTauri’s F1 car for the British GP?
AlphaTauri has introduced a series of modifications to their F1 car for the British GP. These include overhauling the floor design, modifying the diffuser’s sidewalls, increasing the engine cover width, adding a winglet to the rear suspension, redesigning the rear wing, and removing the flap from the beam wing.
What are the goals of these modifications?
The modifications aim to improve the car’s downforce, reduce drag, enhance airflow dynamics, and ultimately enhance the car’s performance on the track.
Will the overall downforce increase with these changes?
The team does not expect an overall increase in downforce. However, the modifications are intended to reduce drag, which can improve straight-line efficiency and top speed.
How do the changes to the floor design contribute to improved performance?
The modifications to the floor design, including a raised leading edge and revised geometry, work to lower local pressure and enhance the ground-effects seal, resulting in increased downforce and improved performance.
Why was the head of aerodynamics, Dickon Balmforth, departed from AlphaTauri?
Dickon Balmforth’s departure followed team principal Franz Tost’s criticism of the engineering team earlier in the year. Tost expressed a lack of trust in Balmforth, leading to his departure from the team.