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Alpine A523 for 2023 F1 season: info and pictures

Alpine has presented its F1 racer for the 2023 season. To close the gap with the top teams, the A523 shows some major modifications compared to its predecessor. And something has also happened with the driver staff. We have collected initial information and pictures for you.

Already in 2021, Alpine boss Laurent Rossi had set the goal of regularly fighting for the front positions within the next 100 races. The title attack is thus firmly planned for 2024. As far as the World Cup placement is concerned, the project currently seems to be well on track. In the previous season, the factory racing team climbed to fourth place in the constructors' championship.

But it is also true that with the introduction of the new technical regulations, you have moved further away from the top. The gap to Red Bull didn't get smaller, it got bigger. On average, the gap to the market leader was around one second - depending on the route, sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less. Of course, those responsible for the team could not be satisfied with that.

The glory of Ocon's victory in Hungary in 2021 has long since faded. In the last twelve months, Alpine has not been able to display a new trophy. The car's speed was usually sufficient to lead the midfield. But not much went towards the podium. The fact that you had to argue with McLaren for the midfield crown for a long time was also due to the numerous defects. Above all, the engine and the water pump lacked the necessary stability.

Fewer defects, more downforce

"If I look at the point table, then the gap to the leaders was considerable," complained Renault CEO Luca de Meo at the ceremonial presentation of the new A523 in London. "I would wish that we could narrow the gap a bit. If we could also celebrate a few podium finishes, that would of course make Sunday afternoons even sweeter." Team boss Otmar Szafnauer added: "We want to reduce the gap to third place and increase the lead to fifth place. To do this, we have to develop faster than others."

The engineers promised that the new car could do everything better. Together with the experts in the engine factory in Viry-Chatillon, they have worked on the weaknesses of the drive and hope to improve the pace as well. In the second year of the ground effect era, all experts expect a noticeable step forward - and that despite the new underbody rules, which in theory should cost almost half a second. The technicians have already announced an aggressive development program over the season - especially in the area of ​​the underbody.

In order to achieve the ambitious goals, the Alpine developers made major modifications over the winter break. The upgrade fireworks start right at the front end of the car.Following the example of last year's Red Bull, the tip of the nose now extends significantly further down to the first front wing element. The so-called main leaf is slightly higher in the central part than on the outer edges. The element used to bend down in the middle.

Directly behind it, the changes to the front end continue. On the upper side, the front section no longer has a rounded bulge. Instead, the nose from the wing to the cockpit is much more angular on the outside and completely flat on the surface. It seems as if they want to produce more downforce on the front axle in this way. The front section also stretches downwards more, which can be seen clearly in the position of the wishbones.

Visible carbon stovepipe

As with most teams, hand work was also done on the radiator cover. The sidepods now have a notch on the outside similar to that of the old Red Bull, but they aren't undercut quite as much at the front. The Alpine already had the groove in the inner part, which many other new cars from the 2023 vintage also show, last year. However, it is a little more pronounced on the A523 and falls off earlier and more steeply in the rear part.

New carbon molds also had to be made for the upper part of the hood. The air outlet in the rear area now curves a little further outwards. This part is no longer painted and is reminiscent of a stovepipe due to the weight-saving visible carbon look. The engineers not only saved on paint, but also removed the fin on the back of the hood. Instead, small gills were cut into the carbon fiber skin to vent hot air out.

The positioning of the cooling slots has changed around the car. As far as aerodynamic upgrades go, new mirror mounts and additional fins on the sidepods and the rear of the halo guard also catch the eye. As with its predecessor, the rear wing continues to stand on a stilt. A modified wing profile and a new beam wing should ensure more efficient downforce in the rear. The improved underbody also helps, but the changes remained hidden.

Changeover to pushrod at the rear

The view of the suspension is also interesting. At the front, the chassis technicians changed the geometry of the wishbones – primarily for aerodynamic reasons. However, the dampers are still activated via pushrods. Last year, Alpine, like most teams, used a pullrod system at the rear. That changed with the A523. Here, too, thrust struts are now working as in the front, which are higher on the transmission to create more space for the diffuser.

In addition, the new suspension should be a good deal lighter and give the engineers more options when it comes to setup.Speaking of weight: According to Technical Director Matt Harman, the new car is well below the limit of 798 kilograms. Riders can even play with ballast to optimize balance. The new color scheme, which dispenses with the painting of the carbon in more places than before, certainly also contributed to the diet.

Overall, the A523 is a bold design. The engineers were given the opportunity to collect initial data on the new car during a film day last Tuesday (February 14) at Silverstone. On the maiden voyage, Esteban Ocon was initially at the wheel. After Fernando Alonso left Aston Martin, the 26-year-old is now the team leader.

Explosive driver duo

It will be interesting to see how well he will work together with his new teammate Pierre Gasly. The two Frenchmen know each other from the old days of karting and fought one or two arguments on the way to the premier class. Gasly, for his part, wants to prove that he was undervalued in the small Red Bull team for years. Of course, Ocon, who is already in his fourth year with the team, doesn't want to have his butter taken off his bread that easily.

Whether the car is actually closer to the top will only become clear during the test drives in Bahrain. On February 23, the A523 will take to the track together with the competition for the first time. If Alpine falls a little short of expectations early on, that doesn't mean fans are writing off the year prematurely. Alpine showed in 2022 that you can make big strides with lots of small upgrades over the course of a season.


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