At a live event in London, Alpine unveiled the A523 in a regular livery as well as a special all-pink version that they’ll start the season with.
As they did last year, Alpine will run their BWT pink version of the car at the first three rounds of the year – Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Australia – before changing to their official blue and pink version. There’re a lot more black areas on this season’s design, as with most other cars this year as teams leave areas unpainted to save a little bit of weight.
Alpine’s Technical Director, Matt Harman, then gave a thorough run down on what the team has changed from last year’s A522 to create the A523 for the upcoming season. Working his way from front to back, Harman gave a fascinating five minute summary of what had been done which included big changes to the heat rejection system, aka cooling, and rear suspension which helped them to achieve an underweight car.
“We’ve taken some of the cooling system that we’ve normally had on the centerline and we’ve reduced it because we want to try and control some of this mass flow going to the rear of the car. Normally we would just take that amount of face area and we’d put it in the side pod, but actually the teams have worked really aggressively at improving the efficiency of that system.
“So actually, we’ve removed it from there but we’ve not put it in here we’ve made the system smaller and also we’ve managed to reduce the plenum temperature for the engine as well, which again, gives us not only an aerodynamic benefit, but more crank power.
“We’ve gone from the pull rod rear suspension to a push rod for quite a few different reasons. We need to take some weight out of our car. We did have a very interesting concept for last year, but this one is more interesting. It’s a little bit simpler with the push rod and it’s allowed us to take an awful lot of weight on the rear of the car.”
There will be an all-French line up at the team this season with Esteban Ocon being joined by Pierre Gasly after Fernando Alonso decided to move to Aston Martin. The two drivers had already had their first experience in the A523 as they were at Silverstone earlier in the week to shakedown the car, with the drivers reporting back that everything went smoothly and the car felt good.
“I think we are obviously very proud of the work we have all achieved,” Ocon said. “And the little bonus is that we drove the car already which has been obviously sensational to be driving again. All these hours of work from everyone from Viry to Enstone, thousands of people working to deliver this car. It’s just been great to just let it go out the garage, put full throttle for the first time and that gave me the smile.
“When the team came in Formula 1 in 2021, renamed Alpine, we’ve scored strong results in the top 10 consistently, but we want to build on that. We want to progress, get faster and catch the top three teams basically. So the target is going to be to obviously keep forth and get closer to third.”
Gasly meanwhile expressed his excitement for his new team and their goal of steadily moving forward in the championship standings.
“I must say I’m extremely excited,” Gasly said. “What a beautiful, beautiful car. It’s a new beginning for me, the start of a new journey. And I must say I’m extremely motivated. And I cannot wait to hit the track.
“Well, as everyone says tonight, Alpine had a fantastic season last year, really good evolution and progress through the year. Clearly the target for us is to consolidate fourth in the championship in a more dominant way and close that gap with the top three. So we’ll try to develop as much as we can, as much as we can and have a better rate to close that gap.
“Personally, I’m super excited. It’s a great project. I fully believe in this and this new project, and from what I’ve seen so far in the factory back in France in Viry, in Enstone, there’s just massive potential. We’ve got the resources, we’ve got the human resources, so now it’s just about putting in the work and I’m sure the results are going to follow.”
Alpine also took the time to announce additions to their Rac(H)er programme, which aims to increase the number female members in working in and driving for Alpine, that included adding Sophia Floersh to the programme and to the Alpine Academy roster which will see her back in F3 this year. There will also be a new karting programme for young female racers and the first six participants for that were announced.
Two ambassadors and mentors were announced for the programme, Olympic boxing gold medallist Nicola Adams, as well as Zara Rutherford, the youngest female pilot to fly around the world solo.
Rac(h)er wasn’t the only on to get ambassadors though as there was also an Alpine ambassador announced at the end of the event – French football legend Zinedine Zidane.