Alpine F1 technical director adamant that 2024 challenger will not just be a Red Bull copy

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With Red Bull firmly establishing themselves as the team to beat in the current ground effects era, it’s only natural for rival teams to take design cues from the best. However, Alpine Formula 1 technical director Matt Harman is adamant that simply copying Red Bull is not the way to beat them in the development war. 

He explained that the technical team’s main aim is to observe, understand, and ultimately draw inspiration from their competitors.

Photo credit: BWT Alpine F1 Team

“We think we’ve understood it quite well,” Harman said. 

“We think we understand what they’re doing. You can’t click your fingers and just imagine it overnight. We understand our direction. 

“But I think we’ve also understood some of the other cars on the grid as well. There are some other great cars there as well that have got some really interesting developments. And it’s about trying to understand what you’re doing, what they’re doing.

“In the end, if we just follow those people, we will never be in front of them. I think it’s a real mantra for us that we need to be inspired by these people, but we need to follow our own way.”

Teams will be under increased pressure to deliver improved cars for the 2024 season, as these will serve as the foundation for their subsequent challengers in 2025. Next year they are expected to start shifting their focus and resources towards the all-new cars set to debut under the 2026 regulations. 

Alpine had a largely lackluster, inconsistent season in 2023. While some of their competitors made significant improvements—Aston started the season on a high, while McLaren caught up mid-season and stunned with regular podium finishes—Alpine finished sixth in the Constructors’ Championship.


So, what’s next for the Enstone-based team? 

“I think the important thing is to look beyond the cars you see around you,” Harman continued.

“If we turn up with a car that people see now, by the time we get to 2025, it’s going to be very out of date.

“It’s really important to be inspired by what you see. But we need to be aiming well past that, to give us that two-year horizon.”

Harman conceded that the fundamental design of the A523 meant the team were limited in what they could do, and as such, they weren’t able to pursue some planned developments last season. However, he assured that these ideas won’t be scrapped, and instead will be carried over to the 2024 challenger, which offers a more malleable base. 

“The chassis and what we call the suspension carrier, or the main case, that has given us a few issues in terms of volume,” he said. 

“Not just for what other cars have in terms of their IP but our own ideas and our own development, it was limiting us a little bit.

“We had a floor update coming for later on in the season, which we decided not to do in the end, and we baked that performance into next year’s car. 

“Just because actually to extract full performance from it, we needed a little bit more volume in there, and we didn’t have it for that car.”

He added that the team intends to build on the existing strengths of last year’s car. 

“I think there’s some really nice things on our car. We’re trying to be humble about these things. We know we’re not quite where we want to be, and we’d like to talk about what we need to get better at, not what we think we’re good at.

“I’d rather just focus on what we need to do better to be honest, rather than show off about what we think we might have done well at!”