Development of the F1 floor worth “10 times” the front wing
Under the budget cap, all teams had to prioritize the most profitable areas of development.
Traditionally, front fenders and endplates have been the focus as teams try to find performance.
Fry says a new floor design costs a team about the same as a new front wing, but the former now offers a much bigger payoff on the investment.
Regarding the potential cost of a new front wing, he said, “By the time you invested in it, you’re, I don’t know, $700,000,000 in it, by the time you made the tooling , done. And you have found as much performance as you find in the ground.
“And clearly a stage that you’re finding 10x more right now. Obviously we’re resource constrained as well, so it’s easier for us to put that on a stage update than a front wing that is relatively small.
Fry pointed out that there are still huge gains to be had from the floors as teams learn more about their 2022 cars.
“I think it’s the same for everyone,” he said. “It’s a floor and I’m assuming a higher body shape as well to energize the floor side, to work closely together.
Alpine A522 nose and front wing detail
Photo by: Uncredited
“The front fenders are a bit less sensitive than they were before, there was a huge amount of performance in the fenders.
“We have front wing changes coming up, but a front wing is quite an expensive component to manufacture, so it has to make a living.
“The front wing has a similar cost to a floor. And at the moment I find 10 times more performance in the floor. So I will continue to make them.”
Fry says all teams need to calculate where best to spend their limited funds while trying to stay within the budget cap.
“It’s a balance. Years ago we had a cost performance graph, even when I was at Ferrari, but that was to stop us from doing the crazy crazy stuff and the extremely expensive stuff!
“It wasn’t that we were financially limited, but you have to control the resource and you have to do things.
“So it’s a balance, as well as cost, it’s what we can physically produce. And I guess we could always release more stuff, but it comes at an even higher cost. So it’s just a balance exercise.
“And I think every team will have a performance cost, as I call it. So you have an idea of how much a component costs and how many hitpoints you need to find to make that reasonable.”
Alpine has opted to bring regular updates rather than the occasional major package, and the Barcelona package includes some changes to the front of the wing, with more floor updates to come.
“Indeed, there are some details on the design of the front fender end plate, some small things on the floor, and mainly the rear fender and rear brake ducts are the new elements that we have brought here,” Fry said.
“The rear wing is for the level of downforce you need here and obviously in Monaco. The rear brake ducts are just a development we have been working on.”