Alpine confirms new floor design for Chinese Grand Prix

Alpine confirms new floor design for Chinese Grand Prix

Alpine has introduced a new floor design for the Chinese Grand Prix this weekend but will only be featured on one car.

Alpine has confirmed the early introduction of a new floor design but will only be available to Esteban Ocon in Shanghai as the French outfit attempts to turn around its performance struggles.

Following an underwhelming start to their 2024 campaign, the Enstone squad finds itself in a challenging situation. Alpine continues to sit at the bottom of the rankings with no points, despite the fact that all of its closest rivals have seen notable improvements in their performances.

A few changes – including a new front wing – introduced last time out in Japan delivered a slight improvement, but on race day, neither Pierre Gasly nor Esteban Ocon were in the hunt for a top-ten finish as the run of point-less weekends continued.

In an effort to turn things around, Alpine has hastily launched an upgrade package into action for the Chinese Grand Prix despite the fact that it was initially scheduled for Miami next month.

But the upgraded floor will only be installed in Ocon’s car while Gasly will be receiving the new component in Miami. The team will alternate who gets them first when there’s only one available.

“The last race in Japan underlined how big a challenge we have on our hands to improve our performance level,” said team principal Bruno Famin. “We must develop the performance of the car in order to fight for higher positions. The level must be raised across all areas so we can get ourselves out of this difficult moment.

“While it was good to bring the first updates to the car in Suzuka, we must do more. The team has been working extremely hard and we have been able to bring an upgrade to one car this weekend, one race earlier than planned.”

Giving priority to Ocon with the upgraded floor will allow Alpine to collect critical data about its efficiency. The team will be able to evaluate performance and determine the impact of the upgraded floor by using Gasly’s car as a benchmark.

Due to F1’s absence from China since 2019, Alpine, like its rivals, will start the Shanghai event with little data. Additionally, teams will get just a single 60-minute practice session to confirm their setups as the weekend’s schedule includes a Sprint race.

“The cars are completely different to the 2019-spec, so preparation has been different to normal,” Famin added. “Matched with the fact it is a sprint event, we have less preparation and therefore it is crucial to be dialled in from the get-go.

“Both drivers were in Enstone last week on the simulator and putting the time in to be best ready for the challenge.”

So far this year, Ocon has outqualified Gasly at all four races and advanced to Q2 in the last two rounds. The A524 “seemed more competitive in qualifying,” according to him, but he took damage in a restart-related incident with Gasly, which ended his race.

“Ultimately we lacked the pace to compete and, even without the performance loss, it would not have drastically changed the outcome of the race,” he said.

“The upgrades we brought to Suzuka were in line with our expectations, and I know the team is working extremely hard back at base to bring more performance to the car in the coming races.”

Leave a Reply