Alpine was the first Formula One team to bring a significant sidepod modification since the end of 2022 testing when it presented itself for the Bahrain Grand Prix.
When it came to managing airflow in the sidepods on the A522, the initial design choice was to keep the bodywork relatively high and then have a downwash in the final segment.
The similar decision applied to Red Bull and AlphaTauri, which had very high radiator inlets and bodywork that dips towards the floor towards the rear wheel to allow air to enter the diffuser’s outer wall.
However, the new sidepods Alpine took to Bahrain for the opening race have a change right at the back, with a higher edge.
However, the revised sidepods Alpine brought to Bahrain have a tweak right at the back, with a raised edge that appears to be influenced by – and undoubtedly follows in the footsteps of – the Ferrari F1-aerodynamic 75’s strategy.
The raised wall indicated by the arrow creates a sliding channel for air flow in the area above the sidepods, acting as a barrier to prevent the flow from dispersing and retaining it in the center area.
It’s evident that it’s not an exact replica of the Ferrari F1-75 design, but it’s a start that implies Alpine is seeking to emulate Ferrari’s unorthodox shape for the 2022 season.
Is this the first sign that Ferrari’s solution could be adopted by competitors? Or that other teams were already coming to the same conclusions as the team that started 2022 with a 1-2 finish, considering the lead times in making upgrades?
Alpine is the second team after Ferrari to build a ‘gutter’ to channel air over the sidepods, albeit it’s too early to know.
Other teams have kept the downwash in the same direction as in 2021, putting a slide on the bodywork behind the radiators to lift a piece of the air passing over the sidepods over the floor.
However, We’ll have to wait and see if Ferrari’s bodywork decision is the winner on these 2022 cars. In the current season, it will be difficult to replicate the whole Ferrari forms since the solutions used by other teams are too diverse overall and would need them to adjust the aerodynamics too much.
The Ferrari forms are also quite close to the limit of the rule, which limits the concavities in addition to the volumes.
The revamped Alpine sidepods are a cross between Red Bull and AlphaTauri, with a hint of Ferrari. Changes to the front of the sidepods, under the radiator inlet, were also part of Sakhir’s new specification. The redesigned shape features a wider undercut that appears to capture more air above the floor.
Alpine has also installed a new floor to eliminate the dreaded porpoising. An extra slot has been added to the new specification, which is used by both drivers, to take away part of the airflow that causes the aerodynamic stall on the straight, causing the car to bounce. Even in the exterior wall, the floor appears to be different.
Alpine’s revamp isn’t as innovative as Mercedes’, which had a new project in the works before the start of winter testing.
Alpine may have looked into this idea after witnessing Ferrari’s presentation and is now putting the F1-aerodynamic 75’s principles to the test on its A522.
The new Alpine sidepods arrived in Bahrain last Thursday and were first seen during routine technical inspections. Only Fernando Alonso used the latest version after they broke up on Esteban Ocon’s vehicle in Friday practice.
Given the uncertainty surrounding the Alpine team’s leadership, and a particularly challenging pre-season test in Barcelona, it had a solid start to the year.
In qualifying, Alonso’s upgraded vehicle finished eighth, but in the race, it was Ocon who finished seventh, two places ahead of his teammate.