Fernando Alonso was forced to retire during the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix race due to a problem in the water pump, and this caused damage to his power unit, as well as losing this part for the rest of the 2022 season. .
The ICE was new for that weekend in Jeddah after the Spaniard suffered an apparent engine setback in the final laps of the Bahrain Grand Prix. That power unit was sent back to the Renault factory in Viry for testing, and has been approved for future use.
His absence caused Alonso to have to release a batch of components for the test in Saudi Arabia and, although only the V6 has been the one that has suffered damage, this guarantees him an almost certain penalty on the grid before the end of the year, where pilots can only use three thrusters.
“The problems are not related,” Alpine CEO Otmar Szafnauer told Motorsport.com. “In Bahrain, Fernando [Alonso] finished the race and as a precaution we had to take the engine back to Viry to run it on the power bench.”
“It’s fine and it will come back, however, the one from Saudi Arabia, which was a new engine because we took the one from Sakhir to investigate it, had a failure in the water pump and, therefore, it will not work again,” he revealed.
“The repair (of the water pump) is already done, so it will not happen again. It has been something easy, which is frustrating, because it is only a water pump,” said the Romanian leader, who also acknowledged that they will have to penalize at some point for using a fourth propellant in an unavoidable way for Alonso.
“I don’t know when that sanction will come, we will solve it and do the right thing,” he said. “If there are circumstances where we can minimize it, then we will put the new engine in, if necessary.”
The withdrawal of the two-time Spanish champion in the last Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was one of the three that happened in just two laps, leaving the affected teams with a ballot to be resolved ahead of the appointment in Australia.
After the race in Jeddah, Alfa Romeo discovered that the mishap in Valtteri Bottas’s car was due to overheating caused by a blockage in the cooling system.
Fortunately, the Swiss caught it early and avoided damaging Ferrari’s power unit, so they didn’t lose any of the regulation-limited components.
In the case of Daniel Ricciardo, it was a gearbox problem that put the Australian out of action, and it is most likely that said part, also limited to four per year, is definitely lost, although from McLaren They think it was a one-time thing.
In Saudi Arabia, Yuki Tsunoda also struggled with reliability, as his AlphaTauri stalled before even taking the start due to a Honda engine failure. The Japanese stalled on the entry lap to the grid, and those from Faenza believe they have lost this engine.
“The qualifying problem was not terminal, it was a relatively simple thing to correct,” AlphaTauri technical director Jody Egginton told Motorsport.com. “In the race we suffered another fault related to Yuki [Tsunoda’s] engine. It is being investigated to understand what happened, but there was no way to race with that problem.”
“We will start from scratch and we will do it again, we believe that we have understood some of the background,” revealed the member of the Italian team, who also had a breakdown in the car of their other driver, Pierre Gasly, in free practice.
“We had a clutch related issue in FP3. Again we had a bit of extra work but we got it resolved, it was something we weren’t too worried about, we understood what happened and it shouldn’t happen again,” said Egginton.
“In qualifying we had some setbacks and we had to make repairs, but for the race everything was fine, it was just something in Pierre [Gasly’s] driving,” he explained.
He also spoke about what happened in the Frenchman’s car fire at the opening round in Bahrain: “It’s not good, the car is showing a reasonable pace, but we haven’t finished both of them for various things. It’s unfortunate that these things happen sometimes now we just have to get everything in order and see where we go.”