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The sixth fastest racing car last year (+1.44%), the Alpine is now the fourth fastest car on the grid (+1.36%). Its lead is due to both the chassis and the engine, as we reveal the first exclusive photo above.
Battery “power units” and energy recovery systems that require a significant amount of cooling must be designed in concert with the chassis, even if that means compromises. In this spirit, the RE22 unit, the first “Made in Viry” hybrid V6 engine built around a discrete architecture, was built.
As on the V6 Mercedes (which invented this arrangement in 2014) and on the Honda engine, the French block compressor is installed at the front of the block and the turbine at the rear, while the two parts are joined together. Others until last year. This separate arrangement, which requires a very long shaft, is a solution that meets both engine needs and chassis requirements.
“This architecture offers a better package above all else, Explained some time ago by Bruno Famen, head of engine at Alpine since this year. It epitomizes the close collaboration between Enstone and Viry, in that it offers better air, a lower center of gravity and, ultimately, a better car – the one that scores points.”
“In that sense, the absolute power figures don’t really matter to me so much. What matters is the performance of the car as a whole. We made certain choices on our engine in order to get the best car possible. We could have probably gotten a better number on the dyno, but with a slower car at the end.” …Instead, we designed the A522 according to RE22, and vice versa.”
Simplifying, this architecture has three advantages. The first is better cooling management, as the compressor and aluminum ducts are mounted at the front of the V6, away from the 1,000°C hot turbines and exhaust pipes. The compressor is located in a less hot area than in the classic configuration, and can theoretically be satisfied with a smaller intercooler (compressed air needs less cooling).
The second advantage: the channels connecting the compressor to the intercooler are much shorter than those in the traditional architecture, which makes it possible to reduce the “response time” of the turbo. However, lowering this displacement makes it possible to reduce the percentage of energy recovered by the ERS that the MGU-H must allocate to restart the turbine when the throttle is not depressed.
Feature Three: This arrangement made it possible to develop an air-water intercooler installed on the front face of the engine (Slightly higher than Mercedes and Aston Martin). The presence of a small radiator installed in this location makes it possible to reduce the size of the radiators located in the side pillars, and, accordingly, reduce the bodywork in favor of aerodynamics.
However, this architecture is not a panacea. The V6 Ferrari 2022 engine, which has preserved the classic design (the compressor attached to the turbo, the assembly is installed in the rear of the block), is famous as the best current power unit … However, the Italian block offers other innovations, which at the moment is still a secret Evidence that architecture alone does not determine the competitiveness of an engine.
On the chassis side, the aerodynamics specialists at Enstone have once again modified the rims of the A522’s flat bottom. Which is not surprising. Since downforce is generated mainly by the bottom of the car in F1 2022 and less by the fins, the most profitable gains come from developments on the flat bottom, which are relatively cheaper than other novelties:
“Until last year, the front wings contained a good dose of performance, Watching Pat Fry, Alpine’s Chief Technology Officer. This is not the case now.”
“In addition, it is a relatively expensive piece to manufacture: a new fin costs about the same as a new undercarriage. However, we currently find ten times more performance with a new flat bottom. Comparatively, the new fin does not bring the same benefit. Given budgeting, The choice is clear.”