TECH REVIEW: Alpine debut a raft of updates in China

By on
F1 Grand Prix, GP China, Shanghai International Ciruitcn

Having endured a tough start to the 2024 F1 season, Alpine have introduced a host of updates to their 2024 F1 challenger at the Chinese Grand Prix. F1Technical's senior writer Balázs Szabó delivers his tech analysis.


Mercedes have endured a difficult start this year so far, having struggled for race pace and suffering from instability in high-speed corners. Ahead of the season, the team had hoped that their brand-new W15 that represents a complete departure from its predecessor would enable the team to move towards the field-leading Red Bull. The Brackley-based team has slipped behind Ferrari and McLaren instead, and find themselves a long way behind the reigning championship outfit.

In Shanghai, Mercedes introduced a small aerodynamic update on their W15. The halo fairing was equipped with a small flick which sits on both sides of the cockpit. The team noted that the tiny vanes generate small vortices which help "control the flow out of the cockpit, and in doing so improve flow to the rear wing assembly."


The first big upgrade of the season for Haas with an all-new floor and engine cover. With the new parts, Haas not only wanted to gain more downforce compared to the previous version of the car, but they also wanted to improve its drivability which is an area where the team has made inroads compared to last year.

Formula One's American team has made tweaks to the floor fences and its edge. The new layout of the fences should improve "floor extraction and works in combination with the new floor later edge, resulting in more downforce." In combination with the new floor fences, the aim with the revised floor edge was to improve drivability.

Targeting drag reduction, Haas has also altered the engine cover. The center exit is now slimmer while the cooling louvre layout has become larger. The team stated that the new configuration allows "improved performance all over the cooling polar slope, as it reduces the lower energy flow impacting the rear end of the car."

Furthermore, Haas have also debuted a new mirror housing which is slimmer compared to the previous version. The new design shrinks the frontal size of the mirror and therefore reduces its wake, minimising the impact on the rear of the car.


Alpine's tough start to the 2024 F1 season has been well documented. Having discovered several key weaknesses during the pre-season testing in Bahrain, the team have set up a development path in order to lift their performance level. The Chinese Grand Prix has been selected as the first phase of the development route with the French team introducing a significant upgrade package devised around a new floor.

The updated floor sports a revised body with the diffuser sidewalls having been tweaked. The team hopes that the revised flow around the rear corner improves flow control around the rear tyre.

Furthermore, the geometry of the inboard floor fences have also been heavily revised. The team stated that "the change from flow to front of the floor gives an increase in overall downforce." The floor's edge wing has also been updated, which should affect performance further down the car.

With only one floor available in Shanghai, the Enstone-based outfit has elected to equip Esteban Ocon's car with the upgrade. Pierre Gasly will receive the revised floor in Miami in two weeks' time.


Similar to Mercedes, Formula One's Grove-based team, Williams has come up with an update to the halo for Round 4 of the 2024 F1 season.

The team has made tweaks to the forward part of the HALO shroud, with the new geometry set to clean up the flow around the head protection device while also better controlling the losses from the cockpit opening. This change should help improve the flow to the rear wing and beam wing and give a small increase in aerodynamic efficiency.


RB have brought several upgrades throughout the opening phase of the 2024 F1 season. For the Chines Grand Prix, the Faenza-based outfit have made alteration to the headrest of their 2024 F1 car. The VCARB01's headrest behind the driver's helmet has been reshaped for the Shanghai round. With the tweaks to the shape of the headrest, the team intended to reduce airflow separation behind the driver's helmet is reduced, improving the flow quality downstream.

Ferrari, Red Bull, Aston Martin, Kick Sauber and McLaren have not brought any updates to the Chinese Grand Prix.