Alpine brings forward A524 floor upgrade for Chinese GP

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Alpine has fast-tracked a floor upgrade for its A524 car to this week’s Chinese Grand Prix as the French outfit scrambles to improve its fortunes.

The Enstone squad finds itself in a precarious position after a disastrous start to its 2024 campaign. While its direct rivals have all made significant performance leaps, Alpine is still lingering at the bottom of the field with zero points to its name.

A selection of updates, including a new front wing, introduced in Japan last time out yielded a slight improvement but come race day, Esteban Ocon or Pierre Gasly were never in contention for a top-ten finish.

Determined to turn the tide, Alpine has rushed into service for Shanghai an upgrade package originally planned for next month’s Miami Grand Prix.

However, the revised floor will be fitted solely to Ocon's car for the Chinese Grand Prix, with Gasly receiving the updated element in Miami. The team will rotate which driver gets new parts first when there's only one available.

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"The last race in Japan underlined how big a challenge we have on our hands to improve our performance level," commented team boss Bruno Famin.

"We must develop the performance of the car in order to fight for higher positions. 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."

By prioritizing Ocon's car with the new floor, Alpine hopes to gather crucial data on its effectiveness. Gasly's car will serve as a benchmark, allowing the team to compare performance and isolate the impact of the upgraded floor.

Like its rivals, Alpine will have little data to work with at the outset in Shanghai given F1’s absence from China since 2019.

Furthermore, the inclusion of a Sprint race on the weekend’s schedule means that teams will only have a single 60-minute session to validate their set-ups.

"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.”

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