Alfa-Romeo-Sauber has presented its new racing car for the 2023 Formula 1 season. The C43 is an evolution of last year's car with some interesting details. We will show you the special features.
A lot has happened over the winter in Hinwil, Switzerland. Team boss Frederic Vasseur migrated to Ferrari. There is no direct successor. As "Managing Director", Alessandro Alunni Bravi is in charge of day-to-day business at the race track. The new CEO Andreas Seidl pulls the strings in the background. Everything is being prepared for the arrival of Audi.
The Ingolstadt company has already acquired a minority stake in the Sauber racing team. By 2025, Audi will gradually buy more shares before it comes to works in Formula 1 the following year. But all that is still in the future. What counted on February 7th was the here and now: Alfa-Romeo-Sauber presented its new racing car for the 2023 Formula 1 season in Zurich. With the C43, the Swiss want to score points regularly and set one or two highlights in the midfield .
Inspiration from Ferrari & Red Bull
The viewer immediately notices the new paintwork. The new C43 comes in a red and black color scheme. The sponsor logos are applied in white. Sauber had painted the predecessor C42 in red and white. The dark areas show a lot of bare carbon. For weight reasons, no paint was used here. At the start of the season, last year's model was the only car in the field that made it to the weight limit.
Much more interesting than the design, however, is the technology. The C43 is an evolution of last year's car, with which the racing team took sixth place in the Constructors' Cup. Valtteri Bottas and Guanyu Zhou collected 55 championship points together. The two will also form the driver pairing of Alfa-Romeo-Sauber in 2023.
The new car should be based on the old chassis. Nevertheless, a lot has apparently changed. The engineers working with technical director Jan Monchaux have carried out the largest conversion from the front wheels to the rear. The head of technology specifies: "We mainly focused on the rear part. We implemented a few solutions that we couldn't do in 2022 and that open a few doors for further development for us."
The opening of the side box is strongly reminiscent of that of the Ferrari F1-75 from last year. The C42 still had a triangular air intake here. In the C43, on the other hand, this resembles a slot. The rear part of the side box ends in a ramp. The air flows in a targeted manner in the direction of the diffuser roof. This solution made Red Bull socially acceptable.
In the area above, the Sauber engineers were also inspired by last year's class leader. The engine cover of the Sauber C43 is bulging in the middle and runs almost flat towards the rear. A kind of plateau develops.This should probably ensure that the lower rear wing element is better flown. Speaking of the beam wing, this one is wavy on the top.
The airbox fans out the team into four openings. The front two are separated by the characteristic bar for the roll bar, which is more rounded at the top according to the new rules. The other two cooling channels are offset to the rear. The Sauber technicians also lent a hand to the cooling configuration. Several slits have been carved into the carbon fabric on the top of the sidepod and on the central plateau of the engine cover. The underside of the sidepod has a different shape.
Next to it there is an "eye catcher". The new rules require the underbody to be raised by 15 millimeters at the edges. This is a measure against bouncing. The air should be able to escape better to the side so that the car does not get sucked in and sucked out in an uncontrolled manner. "15 millimeters doesn't sound like much, but it was enough to make us scratch our heads. We had to redesign the underbody and the rear," says technical director Monchaux.
Alfa came up with something. You fan out the outer edge of the underbody. The nine slats are slightly adjusted to comply with regulations. With Alfa Romeo being the first team to unveil a real car for 2023, we can't say yet if this solution will become trending for the season. Sauber rounds off the diffuser at the outer edges.
In the front area, the C43 is very similar to its predecessor. "What you invest in this area doesn't bring as much return as in the back. We'd rather do one thing right than cook five dishes at the same time and none of them really well," Monchaux justifies. "The regulations limit the resources. With the few wind tunnel runs, you have to prioritize." The nose docks onto the second wing blade. The four elements of the front wing are designed to be similar in size.
The front spring damper elements are further activated via pushrods. Pressure struts are also installed on the rear wheel suspension. However, you can tell that Alfa-Sauber has worked on the geometry and placement of the suspension itself. The Swiss engineers build the housing for the gearbox themselves because it is cheaper for the racing team than buying from Ferrari. "We changed the gearbox and the rear suspension. This allowed us to break new ground with the cooling under the fairing."
Shakedown in Barcelona
The power source is still the Ferrari six-cylinder turbo engine with hybrid system. The supplier worked hard on the reliability of the power unit over the winter. Alfa-Sauber should also benefit from this. In the second half of the 2022 season, Ferrari had imposed on itself and its customers to reduce performance. Several damages also led to starting place penalties.In 2023, Ferrari's power unit should be more stable - and then the full power output should be possible again.
The engine's drop in performance was one of the reasons why Alfa-Sauber didn't make any headway in the second half of the season. In the last 13 races, the racing team only collected four points. When it came to reliability, the team also had to take a good look at itself. Especially the cooler caused trouble. Better stability was therefore high on the list of specifications. "I hope that our new car will be faster than the old one and that it will be more successful," says Chief Technology Officer Monchaux. "And of course more reliable. We have made a lot of efforts in this regard. Thanks to the changes at the rear, we were also able to convert under the fairing. We have adapted our internal processes for this purpose."
The drivers have to step up. Bottas came into the 2022 season with a lot of momentum and fell off badly. Above all, the Finnish veteran has to improve his starts. To do this, Bottas has to become more skilled in a duel. Zhou is contesting his second season in Formula 1. With more experience, the team expects a leap in performance. The C43 will be making its first exit this week. Alfa-Sauber has chosen the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for the shakedown.