Alpine claims Renault’s ambitious approach ‘ran out of time’ to get its power unit on par with rivals

Alpine Technical Director Matt Herman admitted that the French team couldn't meet its power unit targets in 2022.


Alpine claims Renault’s ambitious approach ‘ran out of time’ to get its power unit on par with rivals

Alpine's Esteban Ocon racing in front of Fernando Alonso in the Aston Martin (image via F1i.com)

Renault re-entered Formula 1 as a constructor in 2016 after acquiring the crash-strapped Lotus. Now under the name Alpine, the Enstone-based squad continues to struggle to move up from the F1 midfield. A major drawback for the French team has been its power units. Now, Alpine Technical Director Matt Harman has admitted the carmaker’s struggles in this regard.

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The French team put its full force into the 2022 power units before the FIA-mandated engine freeze kicked in last season. However, Alpine lags behind rivals such as Ferrari and Mercedes by a gap of 20-30 hp with its Renault power units. Harman reckoned that Renault did its best to get the power unit on par with the competition. Unfortunately, the French team did not have sufficient time to make further progress.

I wouldn't say frustrating. I think we tried. I think it's important that we try these things. In the end, we have the technology and the capability to put the power unit where we'd like it to be, we just ran out of time on the RE22.
Matt Herman said as reported by motorsport.com

Matt Harman claimed that the team had taken an ambitious approach to the power units. Moreover, the Alpine Technical Director insisted that the team has bridged a massive gap with its rivals. Although a small power deficit persists. Renault had undertaken maximum development of its power units it could without any further risks.

We were very courageous with that engine. Okay, it's a little bit behind where we'd like it to be. But it used to be a long way behind, and we made a big step, but we just didn't quite get there enough.

Alpine and Renault have shifted focus completely to 2026 Power units

The Enstone-based team decided to switch its full efforts to the 2026 F1 power units. The French team hopes to have one of the most powerful engines in the sport’s new era. Although, presently the team is going through a major structural overhaul with new management coming in. This could provide Alpine with a much-needed direction for its future

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Esteban Ocon driving the Alpine A523 (image via Motorsportweek)
Esteban Ocon driving the Alpine A523 (image via Motorsportweek)

However, Matt Herman admitted that the Renault works team would need to deal with its performance deficit for the next two seasons. Alpine found itself in no man’s land in 2023, As Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon struggled to match the likes of McLaren and Ferrari but were comfortably ahead of Williams and AlphaTauri.

Certainly, Alpine has a lot of work to do to compete at the front of the pack in F1. The Enstone-based team’s best bet remains the 2026 regulations. Until then the French team must learn from its campaigns at the pinnacle of motorsport. With the Renault power units division working in full swing to build competitive engines for the sport’s next regulation change.

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