A new, slimmer nose is the most significant change on Alfa Romeo’s new C41 chassis, introduced today.
Technical director Jan Monchaux confirmed the team had used its limited allocation of development ‘tokens’ to depart from the wider nose seen on last year’s car. The restrictions on car design were introduced as a cost-saving measure due to the delayed start of last year’s championship following the Covid-19 outbreak.
“The C41 shares a lot of common parts with the C39, simply because of the regulations that were voted in as a result of the pandemic,” said Monchaux. “Development of some parts had to be frozen – for example, we had to carry over the chassis, the gearbox and many other elements like the cooling system.
“The regulations allow to invest two so-called development tokens to carry out changes and we chose to use them on the nosecone. It is a very unusual situation in Formula 1 not to be able to build an entire new car for the new season, but it makes sense in these circumstances and with the objective of keeping costs under control.”
Alfa Romeo and their rivals will only have a reduced, three-day pre-season test in which to evaluate the changes to their cars.
“Testing in Bahrain will be hectic,” Monchaux predicted. “I expect every team to put in as much mileage as possible in an attempt to tick off all the boxes on their plans.
“One of the key elements of testing will be the new tyres, which we were able to test in a couple of occasions last year, so there will be a lot of work to be done in this field. Of course, we have a much-reduced window, just three days, this year, so I expect the action on track to be much more than in previous years.”
Monchaux says the team is at an advantage as all bar one of their rivals – Mercedes – have at least one new driver in their line-ups this year. Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi are going into their third seasons with the team.
“A crucial element is that, from the very start, you know with certainty what your drivers like and what they don’t. The 2021 car is a very close development of last year’s and, knowing what Kimi and Antonio want, we were able to focus on mitigating the aspects they did not like.
“Had we had a completely new driver, perhaps with a completely new driving style, that would have presented us with an additional challenge – especially in a season with extremely limited testing time. The stability on the drivers’ front definitely helps our engineers focus on giving them the tools to be confident at the wheel and extract the most from the car.”
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2021 F1 season
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