Helmut Marko’s answer to Alpine’s problems will be music to Andretti’s ears

Michelle Foster
Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko speaking with Christian Horner in the garage.

Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko speaking with Christian Horner.

As Alpine revealed a desire to become France’s answer to Ferrari, Helmut Marko has told Renault to sell their team to Michael Andretti and stick to making engines.

Alpine have been in the headlines of late, alas often for the wrong reasons, with one of those being their engine when it was confirmed at July’s F1 Commission meeting that the Renault power unit is approximately 30hp down.

Calling for an engine equalisation move, Alpine suggested a higher-than-usual fuel flow rate to help them catch up, an idea that was immediately blocked by Mercedes and Ferrari.

‘Andretti should buy the Alpine team’

But with their engine’s lack of performance said to be compromising their car’s set-up, Marko has suggested maybe Renault should go back to focusing on engines alone and sell the team to American hopeful Andretti.

“Andretti should buy the Alpine team,” he told Sport1.de. “That would be best served for everyone.

“Formula 1 would keep its ten teams, Andretti could finally get in and Renault would still be involved.”

Both Andretti and Renault have found themselves up against a Formula 1 blockade with the majority of today’s teams opposed to Andretti, or anyone else, becoming an 11th team while also saying no to Renault’s calls to level the engine playing field.

Surprisingly, though, Red Bull aren’t opposed to the latter with Marko saying they’d support it.

“At least we were not against it when it came to the Renault case,” he said, “but it must be clearly demonstrated that the performance gap is significant. And it must be ensured that measures are taken that do not weaken the rest of us.

“The application has therefore been put on hold at the moment.”

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He added: “I can understand Alpine’s problems. It’s not just about engine performance.

“If you are too far behind in performance, you will have to make compromises with the car set-up to compensate for the lack of speed on the straights, which can amount to a loss of up to three-tenths. And that comes at the expense of the driving characteristics of the car.”

Marko’s comments regarding Renault’s power unit deficit echo that of Red Bull team boss Christian Horner, who recently said he “wouldn’t be averse to a sensible discussion” on the matter.

He added: “It is about seeing what are the deficits. The FIA have all of the data and they should present exactly what the differences are.

“I think that would be fascinating for everybody to see, and I think that if there is a deficit under homologation, then it’s something that we should be sensible about – otherwise, you’re locked in for two years.”

Alpine are sixth in the Constructors’ Championship with 57, 46 adrift of McLaren.

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