Alfa Romeo took inspiration from the championship-winning RB18, drawing on Red Bull’s design to fix last year’s cooling woes with the new C43.
Last season Alfa Romeo suffered 10 retirements in 22 races to finish sixth in the Constructors’ Championship.
While some of these could be attributed to crashes and others to the poor reliability of their Ferrari powerplant, the car’s cooling system was responsible for almost half of the DNFs.
He had technical director Jan Monchaux looking for a solution.
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For the last time, Alfa Romeo lifts the covers from a Formula 1 single-seater, the C43
“It was mostly related to the cooling system, we had four DNFs based on four different cooling system issues,” he said at the launch of the C43. “It’s not like we repeated the same problem four times.
“We have identified the root cause and are confident this is behind us.
“And we also aim, because it is one of our top priorities, to return in terms of reliability to where Sauber was in previous years, when it was among the best. So lessons learned. So reliability is very important in our list.
“And we too hope and are quite confident that our friends in Maranello have also taken a big step, because it hindered us. We had eight retirements, four or five penalties also due to PU elements.
“So it’s eight races you throw away, plus four or five easy ones where you start more or less from the bottom”.
Solution inspired by Red Bull
That fix, in part, came courtesy of Red Bull and their championship-winning RB18.
Revamping the rear of the car for the 2023 season, Monchaux revealed that the team was inspired by Red Bull, solutions they would have liked to implement last season but could not given the difference in rear suspension.
“That you can see,” he continued. “I mean, it’s quite obvious, but it wouldn’t have been possible for us last year.
“Even if we said we wanted it, we wouldn’t have made it, because the radiators were so extreme and the rear suspension wouldn’t have allowed it.”
Okay, just one more look. 😍 #Approach #F1 pic.twitter.com/s3SQrw4Btg
— Participation of the Alfa Romeo F1 team (@alfaromeof1) February 7, 2023
In fact most of the changes from last year’s C42 to this year’s car are at the rear.
“The rear is definitely where we spent the most,” he said, “to catch up in terms of rear topology and open the door to further developments.
“Especially with regards to the bodywork, which was not possible last year, because we had a rather extreme cold setting. And we can’t change the refrigerators during the season.
“So we had to make a significant effort at the rear to accommodate different radiator arrangements, and therefore different bodywork, which was a step forward for us.”
What’s next for the Alfa Romeo F1 team?
While much of the focus on Alfa Romeo, or should we say Sauber, is their tie-up with Audi in 2026, the team still has three seasons between now and then.
Three seasons in which they have to improve their results.
Although the team finished sixth last season, holding off Aston Martin going into the final race of the season, they were by no means involved in the battle at the front of midfield.
While Alfa got 55 points, Alpine 173 and McLaren 159.
At the moment Alfa Romeo Sauber has stability: same design team, same drivers, same engine. They need to capitalize on this to give Audi the best possible chance when they arrive in 2026 as the team’s new engine supplier.
Sauber needs to fix the chassis issues and keep the floor vortices under control so Audi knows whatever’s going on in 2026, which is on their engine. The rest is as close to perfect as you can get.