A difficult start to the 2023 season for the Faenza outfit was followed by critical comments from team boss Franz Tost and the sudden departure of head of aerodynamics Dickon Balmforth.
The team is pushing on with a substantial development programme as it tries to find more performance from its car.
Last weekend’s Miami GP saw a revised front wing and mirrors introduced, and the new floor is the next stage.
«We’ll bring a completely new floor in Imola,» said head of vehicle performance Guillaume Dezoteux. «We are looking forward to having it on the car. It is a significant step, it’s a big step, so we hope that can deliver on expectations.
«There’s always a question mark on the quality of correlation. But so far the updates we brought have been working on expectations.
«This [new for Miami] front wing worked well and in line with the wind tunnel prediction, so we’re looking forward to this day.»
Dezoteux confirmed that the revised wing was part of an effort to increase outwash.
Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT04
Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
The 2022 regulations were designed to reduce the phenomenon after it was identified as a key parameter in making it difficult to follow, but as teams have developed their cars it has gradually been increasing once more.
«We have changed the geometry around the flap elements, and the end plate to try to create more outwash,» he noted. «On this set of regulations it has been about containing the outwash and the wake of the car, but this has a cost in performance.
«All the teams are trying to find many small solutions to try to reproduce the outwash, which is beneficial for the flow structure and the downforce you generate from the underneath of the car.»
Regarding the revised mirrors introduced in Miami, he said: «There is a new geometry, which is meant to modify the flow structure that goes to the rear of the car to improve the aerodynamics of the car in different conditions.»
The team is hopeful that even marginal gains will bring useful results on track.
«The midfield is very tight,» said Dezoteux. «You have more than 10 cars in 1% of lap time. So the opportunity is there. If the step is good enough, that can gain us several places on the grid, but everybody’s developing.
«So I think this is what we will see all year is this race in the midfield that’s going to be very interesting.»
Dezoteux noted that the team is pursuing a different development route in the wake of Balmforth’s departure, with revised priorities.
«The development direction of the cars has changed,» he said. «We are changing a little the weightings on where we want to develop the car.
«It takes time to actually turn into something new on the car. But this is something that has happened some time ago.»
Dezoteux also acknowledged Tost’s recent assertion that he now trusts his technical team: «I’m very happy he said that! Franz is very supportive of the group of engineers he has around him.
«He is a racer. He’s keen to see good results, like we all do, and the beginning of the season he has been for sure frustrated.
«But the competition is at the maximum, and it’s up to us to show where we are good enough to carry on.»
Additional reporting by Matt Kew