The intriguing, serrated floor edge that Alfa Romeo revealed at the launch of its new Formula 1 car has been confirmed as a ‘fake’ by team insiders.
The Hinwil-based operation was the first squad to unveil a genuine 2023 challenger earlier this year at an event it held in Zurich.
Launch renders of the new C43 showed the car with a unique serrated solution that featured a run of fins all along the edge of the floor.
However, when the new car ran for the first time in a shakedown at Barcelona, the floor design was very different and was much more traditional.
That prompted a number of theories, including that Alfa Romeo could be waiting to unleash the floor later in the year, or it was a development route that got abandoned early on.
There were also suggestions that Alfa Romeo had played a trick with its launch images – and played around with the design to not show off what it was really doing with this critical area of the car.
With the season now underway, high-level sources within Alfa Romeo have confirmed that the serrated floor design was indeed a total fake – put on the car as a bit of fun and to distract rival teams about what it was up to.
What made the Alfa Romeo launch floor so intriguing was that while it seemed extreme, it did appear to be a perfectly acceptable approach to dealing with the current F1 regulations.
From a legality perspective, the vertical flap and the nine winglets attached to it appeared to obey the rules laid out for the floor edge and the 'edge wing', with the vertical flap they are anchored to being aided by the brackets that are also allowed.
Other than the winglets being mounted upon the vertical flap, there were two interesting side effects to note in this solution.
Firstly, on the left, you could see how the flap would provide a corridor for the airflow between it and the sidepod's flank.
Secondly, on the right, the flap was mounted above the floor edge's level (dotted yellow line to help show the separation), with the brackets allowing the airflow a route with which to circulate to the outside of the flap.
However, while legal, it is now clear that Alfa Romeo never seriously intended to race with the floor – and instead it was all just part of the pre-season gamesmanship with rivals.