Alfa Romeo decided to design its own gearbox casing and rear suspension instead of using Ferrari parts to avoid Formula 1 cost cap regulations “killing you” through the high value put on those components.
The team produces its own carbon fibre gearbox casing while using Ferrari’s power unit and gearbox internals in the C42.
This allows it to run different pickup points for its rear suspension, making the pushrod geometry possible.
“Today, if you are going with the Ferrari casing and suspension, this is killing you in terms of notional value,” said Vasseur when asked by The Race about the decision.
“The system of notional value means that you have a ‘fake’ value in your cost cap. You can do it cheaper than the price that Ferrari is setting the parts [cost at] and it’s a saving, but it’s also much cheaper than the notional value itself.
“We are planning to be at the limit of the cost cap by next year and on this kind of choice, you have to anticipate questions in advance, because clearly with the new regulations, we will have to do a carryover of some components between year one and year two or year two or year three.
“We will probably carry over the gearbox, or the chassis between year one and year two and to have your auditing system like this. If you take the decision to go with Ferrari for the [gearbox] casing and suspension, you will carry over the parts and the notional value.
“And at one stage, the cost cap will go down and you will struggle, that is why we took the decision to go in on our own project. It was a bit ambitious.”
The decision appears to have paid off so far in 2022 with Alfa Romeo making a strong start to the season.
The Swiss outfit have amassed 31 points and are P5 in the constructors’ championship, Alfa Romeo have more points than the previous two seasons where they scored a combined total of 21 points.
The Hinwil based squad continued with the development of the C42 as the in-house designed gearbox casing and rear suspension meant they didn’t have to wait for Ferrari to release drawings and information of their design.
“We had no doubt that Ferrari was able to do a good suspension or good gearbox,” said Vasseur when asked by The Race if the primary reason for the decision was financial or design.
“But the first approach was based on the budget and the cost cap for the season – and for the future.
“And also because it’s a bit easier to develop into the windtunnel when you can do the development with your own parts.
“You know where you are, you know what will be the choice, you won’t have to wait [until] Ferrari will release the drawings.”