A glimpse of Alpine‘s 2023 F1 car indicates they’re replicating elements of Red Bull’s design from 2022, running a steeper channel down the flank of the sidepods alongside the cockpit.
Alpine is the last team to launch their car – the A523 breaks cover on February 16, a week before testing gets underway in Bahrain – but gave fans a fleeting look at the car on social media.
They sported a similar undercarriage to Red Bull and AlphaTauri in 2022 as teams adapted to ground effect for the first time in decades, but designed much broader sidepod giving the car a somewhat boxy appearance from the top down.
However, they’ve taken another step towards what was the dominant philosophy in 2022 that carried Red Bull to 17 wins out of a possible 22.
While most of the car remains under wraps – including the underside of the car that holds the all-important venturi tunnels – fans can start to see how the A523 is taking shape.
The design shows a quicker dropoff behind the air intake, channelling air towards the floor package at the back of the engine.
This design wasn’t adopted by AlphaTauri, unfortunately for Pierre Gasly. The 2020 Italian Grand Prix winner joins Alpine to give them an all-French lineup for 2023, after spending the whole of his F1 career in the Red Bull umbrella.
Alpine enter 2023 after a brutal driver carousel that saw them rejected by one of just three world champions left on the grid, and the hottest young prospect on the market.
After Fernando Alonso upped sticks for Aston Martin to replace the retiring Sebastian Vettel, Alpine looked to promoted academy driver Oscar Piastri, who won F3 and F2 in successive years as a rookie.
But they were forced to go for Gasly instead after it transpired that Piastri‘s contract with Alpine had expired just as Alonso made his announcement, and the Australian opted for McLaren instead.
Gasly had signed a contract to stay at AlphaTauri for 2023 but he was able to negotiate a release.
Reliability the main concern
While the move towards Red Bull‘s philosophy should excite fans, Alpine‘s biggest focus over the offseason has been improving their engine reliability.
“We should have a more reliable powertrain next year,” Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer told RACER. “Even though some of the issues we had weren’t really with the powertrain, they were with the ancillary bits. We have to redesign those and fix them.
“I think if we can do that with the powertrain being frozen – and I have every confidence that we will – then I think we’ll naturally score more points.
“So if we just do that and the performance level stays relatively the same we should be further up the road. So that’s our focus.”