The big reveal from Alpine’s launch of their Formula 1 car for 2023 is that it began development of the A523…in 2021! Surprisingly, the Alpine team began development of its single-seater for the 2023 season at the end of 2021, even before the launch of its 2022 car. A similar development plan that Mercedes took before the start of its domination of Formula 1 in 2014.
On Thursday, Alpine presented its single-seater for the 2023 Formula 1 season, the A523, which will be driven this year by Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly. Alpine is confident that with this long development, moving up the grid from ‘best of the rest’ is possible (Alpine finished last year in fourth place), and possibly achieving wins by mixing it up with the top three (Ferrari, Red Bull & Mercedes).
Regarding the genesis of this new car, the team’s technical director, Matt Herman, told us that the development of the A523 started very early, at the end of 2021 to be exact:
“We started this project quite a long time ago. It was in November 2021, before the A522 was even launched [in the 2022 season],” says Harman.
“We’ve accumulated a lot of data in design and validation to improve performance on the different sub-assemblies.”
“The aim is to get a broad enough view to then identify concepts and areas that can be progressed. So, as mentioned, A523 is a significant evolution of A522 because of the huge learning and increased understanding after eighteen months marked by regulatory upheaval.”
“The A523 has evolved in many ways from the A522. We’ve made changes to the front and rear suspensions and we’ve also extracted more from the front wing and flow structures up front.”
“This has allowed us to produce more performance in the diffuser, hence a slightly different concept for our suspensions at the rear.”
“We have adapted the size and position of the cooling system to tighten up our bodywork based on last year’s excellent performance. Finally, we are improving the efficiency of the rear wing, and in particular its streamlined beam offering high efficiency gains.”
In terms of the development race during the season, Alpine will once again introduce a number of updates to its single-seater from the first race of the year.
“We were very happy with our development programme in 2022 and we have created a clear and well-structured plan to make regular improvements, but also bigger and better developments at certain times of the year.”
“In 2023 we will be looking to be even more aggressive. We want to continue in the same vein and we already have a programme in place and topics in preparation, both aerodynamically and mechanically. We are really excited about what we have planned as far as development is concerned.”
“The A523 was fully homologated before Christmas, an important milestone for the team. We then dove into our validation programme. In the third week of the year, we used our new powertrain testing facility in Viry to validate its integration with the rest of the car.”
“We were very pleased with what we accomplished there and the mileage we got. This joint project with Viry went extremely well and we go into this campaign with increased confidence in certain aspects of our package.”
“I would say that the relationship between Enstone and Viry has never been closer, especially at this stage of the year as we prepare for the season.”
“Together we have identified the roots of our difficult moments in 2022, and it’s no secret that we have had some, all in order to optimise the whole system, namely the gearbox coupled with the powertrain.”
“We are very happy with our joint work and are working in a clear and positive direction. This bodes well for the future, especially with the 2026 programme in mind. Finally, even though the powertrain is homologated, we have focused on its integration into the chassis, reliability and application performance, where we will see progress this year.”