Alpine expecting performance boost from upcoming update

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Alpine team boss Otmar Szafnauer says the French outfit is looking forward to a significant upgrade that it plans to introduce at Spa in two weeks.

Alpine has scored just three points in the last two races, thanks to a double top-ten finish in Austria. But at Silverstone last weekend, an oil leak put paid to Esteban Ocon's efforts while Pierre Gasly retired just six laps from the checkered flag due to a collision.

Unfortunately, Alpine was also overhauled in the Constructors' championship by McLaren, with the Enstone outfit now sitting sixth in the standings, which is at least one spot lower than where it aims to be at the end of the season.

Alpine had brought a new front wing in its crates at Silverstone, but Szafnauer is hopes the revisions that will be implemented in Hungary and especially in Belgium will form a package that will carry the team forward once again.

"Our upgrades have worked this year and there's another significant one coming before the break," said the Alpine chief, quoted by

"I hope that too will help, because the swing of relative competitiveness does that kind of stuff. So yeah, I'm looking forward to our next one.

"There's an upgrade in Hungary but not that big. Then there's a floor in Spa. So putting all that together, and it's all additive, I think we should go well."

Teams are now approaching the cross-over point where resources will gradually be shifted towards 2024. However, dwindling budgets – constrained by F1's cost cap – and aerodynamic testing restrictions [ATR] mean that development must be carefully managed.

"From a cost cap perspective, we have the headroom,"Szafnauer explained. "From an ATR perspective, that's where we have to decide how much compromise there is on the '24 car versus the '23 car.

"And that will have to be a strategic decision as to what we continue to do. But as we sit here, today, most of our efforts are still on the '23 car, not on the '24 car."

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Szafnauer says that Alpine extending the development of its A523 won't weigh on its 2024 design thanks to F1's regulation stability. Additional improvements will automatically transfer to next year's contender.

"Me personally, I'm always for upgrading the car as much as we possibly can," he said. "It will come down to what do we get out of that last upgrade, how much performance can we put on it.

"And you can't answer until you've gone through both the CFD and the aero process over and over and over to do the experiments to see what you find. And then determine, when you know, when those upgrades are coming.

"So it's really hard to predict, unless you've gone through those loops. But I'm all for continuing to upgrade."

However, Szafnauer stresses that lag times must also be taken into account.

"You run out of at time," he said. "There is a finite time between finding a eureka moment in the tunnel, and getting it to the car.

"And so if you say that your last race is end of November, you go eight weeks back from that, and then you have to say, Oh, here's my eureka moment. I may get it for one race. Is it worth it? That one race, it's not going to do anything for you.

“Before you know, it's not hard to fathom why you stopped developing, because whatever development you find, it's going to come to the car at Christmas, when you stop racing.

"And then when you go back, there becomes a pretty evident time when you should start developing.

"The quicker you can make those parts, the further out you can push that. So if you're a week or two better than your competitors at making floors, say it takes you eight weeks instead of 10 weeks, or six weeks and eight weeks, then you can push that out by a couple of weeks.

"So you might do another couple iterations."

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