Formula 1
Formula 1
R
Emilia Romagna GP
18 Apr
Race in
47 days
09 May
Next event in
64 days
23 May
Race in
82 days
R
Azerbaijan GP
06 Jun
Race in
96 days
13 Jun
Race in
103 days
27 Jun
Race in
117 days
04 Jul
Next event in
120 days
18 Jul
Race in
138 days
R
Hungarian GP
01 Aug
Race in
152 days
29 Aug
Race in
180 days
05 Sep
Race in
187 days
12 Sep
Race in
194 days
26 Sep
Race in
208 days
R
Singapore GP
03 Oct
Next event in
211 days
10 Oct
Race in
222 days
R
United States GP
24 Oct
Race in
236 days
31 Oct
Race in
243 days
R
Australian GP
21 Nov
Race in
264 days
R
Saudi Arabia GP
05 Dec
Race in
278 days
R
Abu Dhabi GP
12 Dec
Race in
285 days

What Alfa Romeo's token spend says about its 2021 mindset

Alfa Romeo continued the theme of Formula 1 cars being more evolution than revolution this year when it unveiled its updated C41 in Poland on Monday.

What Alfa Romeo's token spend says about its 2021 mindset

It's clear that the team has focused its resources on recovering the loss of downforce created by the new regulations for the season ahead, with the necessary changes made to the floor, rear brake ducts and diffuser.

However, perhaps the most interesting aspect of the C41 lies in the team's redesign of the car's front end, with a new front wing, nose and brake ducts all looking to set up the airflow differently to the car's predecessor.

Read Also:

In order to achieve its design ambitions, the team has had to spend its two allotted tokens on redesigning these aspects too, so the pay-off needs to be sizeable. In this respect, the nose sees the team switch tact.

The main body of the structure has been slimmed considerably, with the design now much more reminiscent of a trend started by Mercedes back in 2017. This is allied to a rethink at the front of the structure too, with the shape of the nose tip and its inlet altered and the two higher inlets present on the C39 cast aside.

Alfa Romeo Racing C41 front nose
Alfa Romeo Racing C41 front wing

These revisions have also led to a new cape, which has been brought forward on the body of the nose in order that it might influence the airflow that bit earlier than before.

There appears to be an interesting shape to the underside of the nose in the section between the nose tip and the edge of the cape too. This may be the reason why the team has opted not to use the narrow wing pillar arrangement that is more commonplace with this overall design concept.

However, it's unclear at this stage whether it's simply a pathway for the airflow to follow before entering the 'S' duct that remains a feature of the car or whether it works with the cape to further influence the airflow's ongoing transit toward the bargeboard cluster.

Alfa Romeo C39 C41 comparison

Alfa Romeo C39 C41 comparison

Photo by: Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo has been steadfast in its approach to the front wing regulations that were introduced in 2019, favouring the unloaded outboard section of the wing to influence the wake generated by the front tyre behind.

However, it has made some significant changes to the inboard section of the wing for 2021, with the mainplane now featuring a very bold arc where it meets with the neutral section.

It's an area where the team had made some limited changes toward the end of 2020. But this more aggressive variant will clearly drive the Y250 vortex in a very different way and is the result of the new much bolder cape design being able to keep the vortex in check.

There's also a dipped section on the leading edge of the central portion of the mainplane, which is another aspect that was played around with toward the back end of last season. But again the new design is more prominent, indicating the team's wishes to drive more performance from that region of the wing.

A revised brake duct is also visible at the front of the car, with the team switching to a design more akin to the one used by Mercedes, with an inverted L-shaped inlet divided into multiple channels that feed the various cooling and aerodynamic demands of the internal duct work.

Meanwhile, the upright extension which raises the position of the upper wishbone also appears to have been modified slightly, perhaps as a response to the revised tyre profile that Pirelli will supply for the forthcoming season.

Alfa Romeo Racing C41

Alfa Romeo Racing C41

Photo by: Alfa Romeo

The C41 retains the distinctive triangular airbox and displaced circular snorkel arrangement of its predecessor, with the configuration allowing the team to package some of the radiators and other ancillaries associated with cooling around the power unit.

This results in a smaller sidepod arrangement, albeit the proposed improvements from Ferrari don't yet appear to have allowed a significant reduction in their size, something that's more noticeable if you were to compare the size of the rear cooling outlet with some of the other cars we've seen so far.

Alfa Romeo Racing C41 rear

Alfa Romeo Racing C41 rear

Photo by: Alfa Romeo

There's still a number of design aspects of the car that we are yet to see in their finished form too, with the floor being bought up to 2021 spec in regards of the cutout. For aside from a small lip ahead of the tyre it's devoid of the type of aerodynamic furniture we might expect to see when the car hits the track.

Nonetheless it's also good to see that designs introduced throughout last season have a stay of execution too, proving that sometimes the 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' approach is the right one. The low shark fin, tall swan-neck rear wing pillars, countered rear wing endplates and strake design all testament to this so far.

Alfa Romeo Racing C41 rear

Alfa Romeo Racing C41 rear

Photo by: Alfa Romeo

All things being equal, the C41 looks to be a step forward when compared directly with the car that finished the 2020 campaign.

Most of the team's effort focused on the front end of the car in order to unlock the latent potential aft of it. However, it will be interesting to see how quickly things evolve when the car completes its shakedown and filming day on Friday before being put through its paces during the pre-season test in Bahrain on 12-14 March.

shares
comments

Related video

Red Bull: Last year's "lessons" key to 2021 success

Previous article

Red Bull: Last year's "lessons" key to 2021 success

Next article

How Red Bull's 2021 F1 car is more than just new stickers

How Red Bull's 2021 F1 car is more than just new stickers
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Author Matt Somerfield
The mantra Ocon must follow to challenge Alonso at Alpine Prime

The mantra Ocon must follow to challenge Alonso at Alpine

OPINION: It's been an uneasy ride for Esteban Ocon since his F1 comeback - and fresh challenges lie in wait as he's joined by double world champion Fernando Alonso in the newly rebranded Alpine team. STUART CODLING sets out a roadmap to success…

Why Haas is willing to sacrifice its 2021 F1 season Prime

Why Haas is willing to sacrifice its 2021 F1 season

Every Formula 1 team is facing the same difficult decision this season: how do you split precious aero development time between the current car and the all-new 2022 project?

The big questions of F1 2021 - Karun Chandhok Prime

The big questions of F1 2021 - Karun Chandhok

After an unprecedented season last year, there are plenty of questions and storylines for the upcoming Formula 1 campaign. Sky Sports F1 pundit Karun Chandhok gives his verdict.

How McLaren F1’s new investors have already made an impact Prime

How McLaren F1’s new investors have already made an impact

The deal McLaren concluded with MSP Sports Capital last year which will help the cash-strapped Formula 1 team pay for much-needed infrastructure upgrades, also points toward the future for F1 itself, says GP Racing's Stuart Codling.

Formula 1
Feb 27, 2021
Why Verstappen isn't interested in the hype game Prime

Why Verstappen isn't interested in the hype game

In a pre-season where Red Bull has been unusually quiet, Max Verstappen has also been guarded about the team's fortunes in 2021. Even after trying the RB16B for the first time at Silverstone, the Dutchman was careful to manage expectations

Formula 1
Feb 26, 2021
The pros and cons of F1's 2021 rule changes Prime

The pros and cons of F1's 2021 rule changes

In the strategy for grand prix racing's future, 2021 represents a significant step towards the goal of closer racing and a more level playing field. That's the theory behind the latest raft of changes, but will they have the desired effect?

Formula 1
Feb 24, 2021
What Red Bull is trying to hide with its RB16B launch Prime

What Red Bull is trying to hide with its RB16B launch

Red Bull made no secret of the fact its 2021 F1 car is an evolution of its predecessor, but in keeping the same foundations while hiding some tightly-guarded updates with its RB16B, the team aims to avoid suffering the same pitfalls of previous years

Formula 1
Feb 23, 2021
How Albon plans to fight his way out of Red Bull limbo Prime

How Albon plans to fight his way out of Red Bull limbo

Alex Albon has faced the media for the first time since he lost his Red Bull drive at the end of 2020 and dropped out of a Formula 1 race seat altogether. He has a history of bouncing back from setbacks, so here's what he must do to rise again

Formula 1
Feb 23, 2021