The car’s strengths and weaknesses have meant that at circuits including slow and twisty sections, like Monaco and Baku, it has produced the goods. At high-speed venues, with faster corners, it has struggled a lot more.
The team is aware of this problem and the major update it brought to last weekend’s French Grand Prix was focused on helping the car to work better across all conditions and corners – and not just some specific ones.
As Guillaume Dezoteux, AlphaTauri’s head of vehicle performance, said: “This update was mainly around the floor and the entire floor [itself].
“Starting from the inlet, fence geometry, floor edge geometry and diffuser geometry and the bodywork around it. The floor structure underneath the car is completely different and the aim is producing downforce in most of the attitudes the car is taking around the lap.
“In that respect this update is delivering on expectations, so it’s an overall gain of load in most of the conditions: low speed, medium speed corners, high roll, low roll.”
Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT03
Photo by: Alastair Staley / Motorsport Images
The arrival of the new parts did not drastically alter the design DNA of the AT03, and featured no mechanical changes, with the team preferring to bring optimisations of what it already had in place.
The largest of these changes, at least from an aesthetic point of view, came in the form of the Red Bull-style upper sidepod and engine cover shoulder, with a revised geometry used in order to create a larger gulley for the airflow to follow.
This delivers not only a local improvement, but also helps the airflow that’s making its way across the sidepods towards the coke-bottle region, as it will be further protected by the raised sides of the bodywork above.
Alpha Tauri AT03 outer floor fence comparison
Photo by: Giorgio Piola
Alpha Tauri AT03 floor comparison
Photo by: Giorgio Piola
The team also made changes to its floor, with the geometry and position of the fences in the tunnel’s entrance altered, whilst the outer fence has been shortened quite significantly.
This is so that both interact with one another more seamlessly and create a stream of vorticity that helps in managing the wake created by the front tyre that can be damaging to aerodynamic performance.
In order that the edge wing can take advantage of the performance enhancements upstream of it, the team has tweaked its design too. A vertical Gurney has been added to the rear…