One of the benefits of being a works entity in Formula 1 is that a considerable number of components can be produced in-house without the need to outsource.
This is a model that has worked for Ferrari since their conception, along with Mercedes and now latterly Red Bull with their Powertrains operation.
Alpine are taking a similar approach in this new cost cap era of F1 where the headcount for teams is much more restricted, but it also brings in other benefits for the outfit.
Technical Director, Matt Harman, explained in an interview with RacingNews365.com how the team allow their engineers to develop more than one part of the car as opposed to being “specialists” in specific areas.
“There’s two things to this, there’s that resource phasing but it’s also moving the company away from ‘specialisms’,” he explained.
“F1 teams over the years have become very specialist in certain areas, and that works when you’re able to absorb and put more money into the system.
“You can just say, ‘Okay, we want to specialise in this’ and then you can add more people. But now we’re almost fixed on our headcount, so what we’ve decided to do is almost cut back a little bit and we want people that are more multidisciplinary.
“So in the engineering office, for example, there’s a more multidisciplinary workforce. They have their specialisms, but they are also better at some of the other [specialist areas] as well.
“This means we can move people around and if we decide one week that we want to go from a rear suspension upgrade to a front wing upgrade, those people can move across and be useful and helpful in that area, whereas before it was very siloed.”
Alpine: Engineers more motivated when rotated
Harman goes on to explain that this multidisciplinary approach gives engineers more motivation, due to the specialism nature of the job often becoming stagnant over time.
He added: “The sort of tacit benefit of that is our engineers are becoming more interested and motivated.
“Because specialisms, in this very enhanced level of specialism, can become a bit stagnant at times – you just do that rear upper wishbone every year and that’s not good for ideas or for thought process.”
Alpine have started the process of rotating staff and giving them more exposure to different areas of the car, which in turn gives them better ideas for how to extract further performance.
“What we have started do is move more people around and give them more exposure in the car,” Harman added.
“And same for our technicians, some of the people that would normally laminate a chassis will go and do a suspension carrier or something like that.
“It really does make a difference, they come up with these ideas like, ‘Oh, we do this in the chassis, so why don’t we do it on the carrier?’, so it really helps us.”