Alpine suffer major blow in bid to boost ailing Renault power unit

Jamie Woodhouse
Alpine driver Pierre Gasly running wide on the revised track limits at Lusail.

Pierre Gasly and the Lusail track limits.

Alpine have seen their appeal to the FIA to be allowed to improve the performance of the Renault engine turned down, according to a report.

Under the current rules, engine performance is frozen across the Formula 1 power unit manufacturers, Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault and Honda.

Work to cure reliability issues is permitted, which can in-turn aid performance, though outright alterations to increase the power output is not permitted.

Alpine not allowed to boost Renault power unit

And it seems this performance freeze is becoming an increasingly troublesome issue for Alpine, with their exclusive Renault power unit regarded as the weakest on the grid.

But, their efforts to do something about that, as per Auto Motor und Sport, have met a disappointing conclusion.

Their report states that Alpine and their parent brand Renault calculated a deficit in the region of 30 horsepower from their turbo compared to rival manufacturers, so among their courses of action, looked to the FIA for special permission to improve the power unit performance, citing that the freeze is only valid under the rules if all PUs are within two per cent.

However, Auto Motor und Sport report that the initial Renault proposal to bridge that gap by upping fuel usage was thrown out by the Formula 1 Commission in July, while the Formula One Drivetrain Commission determined that development would not be permitted once more Renault. recommends

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The FIA reportedly found smaller performance losses with their own calculations against the ones from Renault, the FIA finding a gap of only 15-20 hp.

It has been a highly disappointing F1 2023 campaign for Alpine, who have seen rivals Aston Martin and now McLaren surge out of the midfield to challenge towards the front of the grid, while Alpine have stagnated, scoring just two podium finishes so far.

That leaves Alpine P6 in the Constructors’ Championship with no realistic chance of improving from there, the gap to McLaren a position ahead now 129 points.

Auto Motor und Sport report that Alpine now have sights set on F1 2024, where a new chassis and gearbox will be introduced as they look to emulate the progress of McLaren and Aston Martin.

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