You can ask a Formula 1 technical director for anything, but not to reveal the secrets of his own creature. Jody Egginton was no exception, who on the day of the presentation of the AT03, the first single-seater of the new ground effect era of AlphaTauri Formula 1, did not want to reveal too many details about the project.
However, the British engineer told what were the main pitfalls that the Faenza team had to face in developing this new philosophy, which may seem trivial compared to that of the cars we have seen on the track until 2021, given the great simplification from the aerodynamic point of view, but in reality it can lead more easily to take the wrong paths.
There has been an important change to the technical regulation: did the design of the AT03 start from a white sheet of paper?
“The carryover of physical parts from last year to today is practically non-existent: the vast majority of parts and assemblies are new. So yes, overall, we can say that we started designing from a blank sheet”.
What would you say was the first day of this car?
“It was a bit disjointed. Initially, the new regulations were meant for 2021, so we started working on this project quite a while ago. Then, due to the pandemic, it was forced to stop development. in the wind tunnel during 2020 and we were able to resume it on January 1, 2021. However, this coincided with our transition to the wind tunnel at 60% and we therefore had to design and produce a scale model at 60% of the 2022 car. At the same time, we were working on a 60% model of the 2021 car, as the AT02 was 50% developed but we needed to upgrade to 60% to be able to continue development during the season, as the regulation prohibits managing two parallel wind tunnels. Obviously, this resulted in a higher workload, but the decision to move to a 60% plant was part of a long-established strategy that had to be completed according to plan in order to achieve to achieve our medium-term goals. I have to say that the guys did a great job managing the extra workload and we are convinced that this decision will bring the expected benefits in the medium term. “
Photo by: AlphaTauri
Speaking now, prior to the first test, would you define yourself as very apprehensive, very confident, or somewhere in between?
“Many people ask me! We have developed the work process in the last two or three years and we have also applied it in the realization of this machine. Statistically – and from the results we have had in the last period – we have had some success, therefore I would say that we are working in the right direction. However, it is not that simple, because the 2022 project is totally new and presents us with potential opportunities, but also risks. The rate of development of the car is a key metric, but the the important question is: where are we with the development compared to the competition? And we will not be able to answer this at least until the first race of the season “.
While we may not see the full effect of the budget cap until 2023, do you feel you are already on an equal footing with the bigger teams?
“Just to use the phrase of the moment, I think we can expect some leveling! I think the budget cap will take some time to be fully absorbed by the teams’ activities, so there are definitely benefits for the teams who, even before that. of the spending limit, they didn’t have the budgets of the bigger teams available. Of course, the money still has to be spent intelligently. “
The biggest change to the regulation is related to aerodynamics, which provides simpler wings and more relevance to the bottom of the car. Is there still room for the teams to look for something very different?
“With this major change to the regulations, there is clearly a lot of room to experiment with new aerodynamic concepts. But, at the same time, the new regulations also expose you to greater risks of taking the wrong development direction. I am convinced that there is room for team to find innovative aerodynamic solutions. I expect the hidden details of the development to make a significant contribution to what the teams are able to achieve from the aerodynamic rules. itself discussions and insights in the teams on possible directions for development during the season “.
Photo by: AlphaTauri
How much do the regulatory changes affect the chassis?
“The new rules have imposed significant changes to the dimensions and crash test requirements, which have resulted in a larger frame structure. Changes to the chassis homologation tests are obviously welcome, as they further improve safety, but to be able to do so. overcoming required a great deal of effort, as well as optimizing the structure and minimizing the mass gain and compromise for aerodynamic development. However, it’s fair to say that the 2022 chassis design process went quite well, as did the approval “.
What effect did the switch to 18-inch tires have on the car’s design?
“It’s a significant change, as the influence of the wheel and tire on aerodynamics is quite marked. I expect the new tire-wheel package – as well as the brake ducts, the many aerodynamic surfaces and flow structures that interact with the car – they will continue to be an area to look for performance as we develop the package. Last year we got to test the tires on our mule car, so we have some data and a good read on a number of parameters I think Pirelli has pushed to align the performance delta between each compound and limit the tire handling phase. The way the new tires respond and work is different and our vehicle performance group has worked hard to ensure that our 2022 car can take advantage of its characteristics. This work will continue as we get to know our car better over the course of the season and we will to improve performance. It is a significant change and gives Pirelli the opportunity to develop a new product in line with the other changes in the regulation. “
And the Power Unit? It won’t have Honda branding, but it’s essentially the same setup as before.
“Yes, in many ways it is a continuation. We are delighted to be working with the same guys again. I think our relationship with Honda has been very good. It has been fantastic for the team and we have contributed to some successes, so we are happy to continue like this. For the PU we have been working with the same people for a long time now and this pays off over time. Going on like this can only be a good thing. “
Photo by: AlphaTauri
And will the team continue to work with Red Bull Technology within the parameters allowed by the regulations?
“For 2022, the areas of synergy are concentrated at the rear: gearbox, hydraulics and rear suspension, a rather similar agreement to what we have had in the past. The difference is that, due to the regulation change, both teams will use the same. 2022 specifications, whereas before we used parts from the previous year’s Red Bull.
In the end, beyond the regulatory changes, it is the people who make the difference. How would you rate your team for 2022?
“This was a pretty young team in many ways, but in the last three years we have developed the processes and structures, creating a solid core of people who have grown together with the team and this is now giving a clear benefit. I think the way we are working on has been well developed and is bringing clear benefits: trust, open communication between senior managers and understanding has developed very well in the two locations (Faenza and Bicester). Overall, I think the development philosophy the car and the way of racing is clear now and this gives us a solid foundation to work on. People have really come aboard by embracing the team’s goals and objectives and are enjoying the challenge of developing competitive cars that race against a ‘fierce competition. We are still one of the smaller teams in Formula 1, but the way we are structured allows us to shift resources in a short amount of time and this could b and give quicker responses to priority projects. The ethos of the team is to be very open and honest with each other and I think this is really important. Nobody here is afraid to speak if they have an opinion. If something doesn’t go according to plan, we focus on solving the problem and this creates a good working environment that allows people to grow. “
#Egginton #rules #greater #risk #wrong