Alpine has focused its permitted token spend on development work to the rear-end of its 2021 Formula 1 car.

In a bid to save costs in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, F1 has frozen significant technical development between last season and this one, meaning teams are carrying over the majority of their 2020 cars into 2021.

Each team has been given two development tokens to use on major upgrades for their updated challengers, and the newly-rebranded Alpine squad has opted to spend its tokens on the rear-end of its A521 car that will be driven by returning two-time world champion Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon this year.

“We have spent our tokens at the rear of the car as this is the area we focused on,” Alpine executive director Marcin Budkowski explained at the team’s launch on Tuesday.

“In terms of engine, we have delayed the new engine architecture to 22 as well to go with the new car so this year’s engine is an evolution of last year’s engine.”

Budkowski said that F1’s “extensive” aerodynamic regulation changes - introduced to slow cars down this year and reduce downforce levels - has resulted in a huge workload for teams over a shortened winter period.

“We have been racing against time over the winter to recover as much as possible of this performance,” he said.

“So [there are] a lot of changes at the rear of the car, and this is where we focused our attention because that’s where the regulations have impacted it.

“But overall you work on everything you can redevelop as at the end of the day there’s small gains to be made everywhere and it’s so competitive at the moment that you can’t neglect any part of the car.”

With its F1 operation split between Enstone in the UK and Viry-Châtillon in France, Alpine has faced additional hurdles in order to get its 2021 car completed on time due to coronavirus-related restrictions on movement between the two countries.

However, these restrictions will not prevent the French manufacturer from carrying out a shakedown of the A521 at Silverstone on Wednesday, when Ocon will put the new car through its paces for the first time.

“It’s the usual logistics issue that everybody’s been experiencing at the border, so that delays the various parts and whether it’s engines or parts going between Viry and Enstone,” Budkowski explained.

“The biggest challenge has really been preparing for the fire-up and the shakedown we’re doing tomorrow, because our engineers and technicians from Viry had to quarantine to be able to do the shakedown.

“But as usual we are getting around these restrictions and it won’t prevent us from running the car tomorrow.”

 

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