Alpine find culprits for reliability wobbles
Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer said the team has finally discovered the cause of the issues that have hampered their 2022 season.
With more than half of the season now gone, Alpine have yet to full maximise the potential of the A522 car and have found themselves struggling with reliability issues on more than one occasion.
The team have been forced to DNF three times in 2022 and last time out at the Red Bull Ring, Fernando Alonso had to start from the pit lane for the Sprint race after being unable to fire up his car.
Alpine initially thought that the electronic control unit (ECU) which powers the engine, alongside the gearbox, differential, throttle, clutch, energy recovery system and the drag reduction system, had failed but team boss Szafnauer has revealed it was a different part on the car that was causing the issue.
“At that point in time, we thought it was an ECU failure,” Szafnauer said, as reported by Motorsport.com.
“We took it back to the factory, and we were able to replicate the problem. And it wasn’t the ECU. It’s a box that powers the ECU.
"One point is better than nothing considering we started on the back row today. I think it was one of my best races this season, other than probably at Silverstone last weekend."#AustrianGP 🇦🇹 pic.twitter.com/B9Y1NdEvmg
— BWT Alpine F1 Team (@AlpineF1Team) July 10, 2022
“And so the ECU was fine, but the power box that powers the ECU wasn’t fine. And if you don’t power it, it looks like the ECU is dead. All indications were that the ECU had failed, but we didn’t know then that the power box wasn’t working. And it’s an Alpine part.”
Esteban Ocon has also had his share of issues such as at the British Grand Prix where a fuel pump issue saw him retire and caused him further issues at the Asutrian Grand Prix. Szafnauer revealed it was not only Alpine that had problems with the Bosch-produced part.
“The issue on the fuel pump is that we had a couple of early failures on the dyno,” he said.
“Therefore, we tried to fix those problems ourselves, as the Bosch standard issue wasn’t working in an F1 installation, because it’s a road car part.
“Several teams had this problem, and us and Ferrari got dispensation from the FIA to do our own fixes. Therefore we went our own route to fix the Bosch problem.
“And our own fix worked fine for the first nine races. We had no problems on the dyno, or on the track. Then something happened, probably we saw some different types of loadings for whatever reason. And they started to fail.”
The 57-year-old confirmed the team would continue to work on their own part and hoped to have once in place for the French Grand Prix.
“Bosch also improved from the beginning, they’ve made changes to improve the electrical connection. So some of the teams used the Bosch improvement, and two of the teams used their own improvement,” he said.
“We’re working on a new fix ourselves for France, and at the same time exploring what Bosch have recently done to fix their initial problem.”
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