Lagging F1 power unit receives much-needed performance boost in spite of freeze

Michelle Foster
The Alpine A524 has been revealed.

The Alpine A524 has been revealed.

Thwarted in their bid to gain engine parity with their rival engine manufacturers, Alpine have turned to the exhaust of the A524 to “deliver performance”.

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

That made the FIA report highlighting a notable performance gap, the Renault power unit down by 15-20 hp, disappointing reading for the French manufacturer.

Renault, though, believe the deficit is as much as 30 horsepower.

As such they put forward a suggestion to the FIA and their rival teams as to how the performance deficit could be negated and proposed upping their fuel usage as one way to bridge the gap.

That was rejected by rivals with Alpine team boss Bruno Famin hitting out as his team’s rivals for reneging “on the gentlemen’s agreement between the PU manufacturers“.

Alpine, though, believe they have found a workaround to gain performance from the engine through a different exhaust solution for this year’s A524.

“The exhaust has now been routed between the pivot points of the rear suspension on the gearbox housing,” Alpine technical boss Matt Harman told Auto Motor und Sport.

“As a result, the pipe is now straighter, which reduces the back pressure.

“We also are not cooling the exhaust, which means that the gases have more energy. That should also deliver performance.” recommends

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Last season Alpine finished a distant sixth in the Constructors’ Championship, in no-man’s land as they trailed Aston Martin by 160 points but sat 92 ahead of Williams.

This year Harman believes they can close the gap on the front-runners with the “aggressive” A524.

“The A524 approach has been aggressive but deliberate in the fact we are creating a wider scope to add performance to the car,” he said.

“We have really focused on learning and reacting to what we have learnt rather than on results. The project has been bold where we have focused on realising concepts, which we aim to add to the car.

“We’ve built ourselves a strong platform to add performance when we can and we have set ourselves targets to deliver those. We have pushed some elements to the limit and, in some cases, beyond that.

“That is all in line with our approach and exactly what we have set out to achieve in progressing this project to the best possible level.”

He added: “I think we’ll see where we are when we go to the Bahrain test, but we will be relentlessly upgrading this car and we have an awful lot of potential to extract.

“We’ve not anywhere near achieved all of it just yet, so I look forward to it.”

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