Alpine ‘concern’ over 2022 design ‘collaboration’

Date published: August 20 2021 - Jon Wilde

2022 prototype F1 car on display at the British GP. Silverstone July 2021.

Marcin Budkowski hopes the FIA will be fully aware of any teams trying to collaborate on the design of their all-new 2022 cars.

The 10 F1 constructors are spending a substantial part of this year creating their challenger for next season, when the sport’s big regulation changes are introduced.

A prototype for what the 2022 models will look like was displayed on the Silverstone circuit on the eve of the British Grand Prix weekend in mid-July as the drivers gathered around to take a look.

Budkowski, the Alpine executive director, is concerned that because some teams have alliances in terms of technical partnerships and engine supplies, there could be some collaboration regarding car design.

Last year, Racing Point received a fine of 400,000 euros and were docked 15 points in the Constructors’ Championship – which ultimately cost them third position to McLaren – when their rear brake ducts were found by the FIA to be too similar to those on the 2019 Mercedes.

Renault, who have subsequently been rebranded as Alpine, were at the forefront of the protests against Racing Point.

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Alpine executive director Marcin Budkowski.

“Clearly going into 2022, a massive change in regulations, a big development slope, lots of performance being gained on these cars, a very green, fresh set of regulations, the benefits you can get from collaboration, whether it’s legal or less so, are massive,” said Budkowski, quoted by Motorsport.com.

“And if there’s a year when these kinds of collaborations can pay off, it’s for 2022. So clearly, if there’s a year when we expect the FIA to be really all over it, it’s this year.”

Asked if he was concerned a repeat of the Racing Point saga was feasible or if he believed the FIA was now policing the matter sufficiently, Budkowski said it was a “difficult question” but admitted there was some concern.

“I don’t know what’s going on in other people’s factories and I don’t know what level of scrutiny the FIA is putting on this,” he explained.

“We, as an independent team, obviously we don’t come under scrutiny of sharing anything with our competitors because it would be against our own interests.

“The Formula 1 that I think we’d all like to see is 10 teams – or 11 or 12 in the future – that just fight each other mercilessly and are just there for their own sporting success.

“From the moment teams have a common interest in exchanging information, that’s a problem because it shouldn’t be the case, you shouldn’t be helping your competitors.

“So there’s a concern there, but I can’t say how much. I won’t accuse people because effectively I don’t know. And I hope there is nothing happening.”