Alpine reveals reasons behind bulky engine cover


Alpine technical director Marcin Budkowski has spoken on why his team opted to go for an oversized engine cover

BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - MARCH 13: Fernando Alonso of Spain driving the (14) Alpine A521 Renault during Day Two of F1 Testing at Bahrain International Circuit on March 13, 2021 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Beauty is in the eye of the fastest lap time holder as far as Alpine can see

Clive Mason/Getty Images

Alpine F1 technical director Marcin Budkowski has revealed the reason behind the new A521’s bulbous engine cover, which has drawn widespread comment from across the F1 paddock and beyond.

Quizzed on the mater at the team principal press conference in Bahrain, Budkowski revealed that a reworking of the car’s cooling system had prompted the outlandish look.

“It’s a technical choice,” he said. “We found that slimming the sidepods was a positive direction, which is nothing new really.

“So we’ve repackaged and relocated some of the bulky things in the car and put them behind the air inlet.

LONG BEACH, CA - MARCH 28: Jacques Lafitte in a Ligier JS5 leads the Alfa-Brabham BT45 of Carlos Reutemann at the first United States Grand Prix West held on March 28, 1976 in Long Beach, California. (Photo by Alvis Upitis/Getty Images)

Immediate comparisons have been drawn between the Alpine A521 and Ligier JS5

Alvis Upitis/Getty Images

“Yes, it gives a fairly spectacularly bulky shape on the car, but we found it works for us.”

Budowski did concede the drawbacks of such a design, which has been compared to the Ligier JS5, amongst other things.

“There are centre of gravity compromises but usually the aero performance wins over weight and centre of gravity.

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In his Motor Sport testing analysis yesterday, Lawrence Butcher surmised that this was what had prompted the Alpine shapeshift.

“Clearly the team has chosen to place more cooling capacity along the centreline of the car, allowing for a more compact sidepod, which in turn helps to improve that all-important flow over the floor,” he said.

The bulge has appeared to help rather than hinder the A521 as Esteban Ocon racked up 129 laps on his way to setting 3rd fastest time on the first day of testing.

Fernando Alonso went one better on his return to F1, going 2nd fastest to Daniel Ricciardo this morning.