Alpine begin technical overhaul: Mike Elliott a viable option

Jaden Diaz
4 Mar, 2024

Among the disappointments of this start to the season, there is undoubtedly Alpine. The French team is facing a very difficult period. This year’s A524 was designed as a revolution of the previous year’s single-seater, arriving at the first seasonal Grand Prix as a work platform that was still too immature.

Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon had to settle for scrapping at the back in Sakhir. All in all, it was a very difficult weekend.

Luca De Meo’s expectations are not being met amidst persistent changes.

Alpine: the horsepower deficit and excess kilos penalize the A524

At first glance, the new Alpine did not catch the eye in pre-season, clearly representing an evolution of the previous car.

In Enstone and Viry Chatillon, however, they worked significantly to overturn their foundations from 2022-23. The intent was to create a new platform and open a new path of development for the next two seasons.

On a mechanical level, the rear suspension has been completely revised. Work has also been done on the Power Unit – within the limits of the possibilities allowed by the regulation.

Renault has worked to try to make the engine more powerful and efficient.

The horsepower deficit against Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes remains in the double digits.

Alpine

The chassis has been completely redesigned, creating a lot of space to introduce changes to their floor. After all, this area is essential for development of modern F1 cars.

Alpine’s new package is, as a result, still relatively basic. At the moment, the A524 is also a very costly 10kg above the minimum weight.

Enstone has already started the process of getting rid of these excess kilos, and they are convinced this is possible.

However, a failed crash test back in December is one of the contributors to the A524’s excess weight.

However, not all the work done in winter should be thrown away. In fact, it is quite the opposite.

Given the many limitations, the Alpine still showed good potential, which however needs to be improved and better extracted by understanding the car.

In fact, in Bahrain he showed a good amount of load, especially in the medium speed corners, as well as good tire management during the race.

The French car has more difficulty in slow corners, lacking agility in tight corners and braking. Excess weight is also a negative factor in this area.

Technical revolution in Enstone: Harman & De Beer resign, Elliott on the ‘wish list’

There is a lot of work to be done, and it will be necessary to speed up the study and production processes of new components so as not to lose too much ground to rivals

At the moment, sixth position in the championship appears beyond reach.

Still, the championship has only started a few days ago, and there is still time to recover.

McLaren and AlphaTauri last year were big examples of what mid-season development can achieve.

Ferrari, Mercedes and Williams have also made a lot of progress this season. Alpine’s difficult start becomes even more complex as they also reshuffle their technical team.

Only a few days ago, news arrived that, about a month ago, Technical Director Matt Harman head of aerodynamics Dirk De Beer, had resigned.

Alpine

The leaders of Enstone’s technical group thus left the team at the beginning of the season.

After last season there had already been the farewell of another important piece such as Pat Fry, who joined Williams.

Alpine has confirmed the resignations of Harman and De Beer. They have also announced a new structure for their technical teams.

This consists of a model being used at McLaren, featuring three key areas: Joe Burnell (Engineering), David Wheater (Aerodynamics) and Ciaron Pilbeam (Performance).

At the team’s base in Viry, Eric Meignan is working on their power units. The former Ferrari man is working on the 2026 project.

The French team also confirmed the arrival of John Woods at Enstone and Audrey Vastroux at Viry-Chatillon.

Bruno Famin, Team Principal, commented on the various changes taking place.

“We have decided to make these organizational changes as we can clearly see that we are not where we want nor need to be in terms of performance level. And it is time to take another step in terms of organization and people.

“The new three-pillar structure with three technical directors, each specializing in different areas, will bring better working and collaboration between our technical areas and help deliver performance from the factories to the track.

“I have full confidence in Joe, David and Ciaron’s ability to work closely together to bring the team the performance and improvements it needs.

“Finally, I would like to thank Matt and Dirk for their commitment over the last two years to the team and wish them all the best in the next chapter of their careers.”

However, Alpine intends to strengthen its staff further. They have already begun the search for important figures who could bring new knowledge to the French team.

Among the most interesting profiles – after brief talks with Mattia Binotto – is former Mercedes Technical Director Mike Elliott.

The ‘father’ of the disappointing Mercedes zeropod resigned from the Brackley team during the past season. Currently, he is completing gardening leave.

There is a strong interest from the French team to reach an agreement. Alpine aim to recruit an engineer who achieved plenty at Alpine and conceived many of the solutions that Adrian Newey build upon with the RB20.

Author: Paolo D’Alessandro

SEGUICI SU

Podcast

Privacy Policy Cookie Policy