It was already pretty cool that we got to see the Alfa Romeo earlier than expected when photos of the car performing a shakedown appeared online.
But aside from the neat testing livery and the fact just seeing the car was unexpected, one aspect of the car has got everybody talking – the front wing.
There are new regulations for front wings this year (among other things). They’re 200mm wider, 20mm higher, have fewer elements on the upper and lower surfaces and also have simpler endplates, all in the name of improving the racing. We’ve seen them on all the cars launched so far and generally speaking, they all look rather similar and somewhat simple. They’re obviously not, but you get the jist.
However, the Alfa Romeo’s front wing is considerably different – bizarrely, there appears to be an entire chunk missing between the elements and the endplates.
Alfa Romeo Racing front wing/nose details 👀 pic.twitter.com/1dW6p4SnQw
— Gianluca D'Alessandro (@Gianludale27) February 14, 2019
— Marc Priestley (@f1elvis) February 14, 2019
— Niccoló Arnerich (@niccoloarnerich) February 14, 2019
Outwash front wing concept? pic.twitter.com/6STmEhHdj1
— Cameron Short (@CameronShort) February 14, 2019
I think Alfa Romeo is not showing the complete front wing. That empty space… 🤔 They are hiding something.
— Alexandre Mota (@Alex97Mota) February 14, 2019
What's up with that front wing? It's cut in half on both sides
— Dev singh (@singhdev872) February 14, 2019
Yeah, that’s certainly very different from anything we’ve seen from other teams and probably the most intriguing bit of aero development so far – that’s if it even is an aero development.
There are a few possible reasons why the Alfa’s front wing looks like it does.
It is an incredible aero development. Alfa has found a way to manage the aero at the front of the car in a way which energises the rest of the airflow around the car in a much more efficient way than the regulations intended. In other words, it’s a loophole.
Alfa has an outrageous front wing solution, the parts of which fit in that gap between the elements and the endplates. It’s such a good idea that the team left them off of the car for the shakedown to prevent other teams from seeing them.
Alfa is going to run a conventional front wing like all the other teams, but decided to use this radical design in an attempt to deceive its rivals into thinking it has some crazy trick up its sleeve.
Alfa is actually running the design that will be the norm for this season. All the other front wings we’ve seen so far are just simple placeholders from teams that think they have a unique idea and are trying to hide it from the others.
Toro Rosso showed something similar apparently. Either they both came up with some crazy loophole that no one else thought of, or the big teams are trying to fool each other pic.twitter.com/0VzykSre4A
— Bill Gates mixed with Obama (@fbgthom) February 14, 2019
- Alfa didn’t have time to finish making its front wing before the planned shakedown so decided to use an unfinished one instead of just cancelling the run.
Which one of those is closest to the mark? Or is there an entirely different reason? I’d say all will be revealed in testing next week, but given the secretive nature of F1, chances are it might not be!