SportF1Alpine details how Alonso's engines are for 2022

Alpine details how Alonso's engines are for 2022

Last year Alpine suffered from a lack of performance in its power unit which proved to be a huge handicap for the team. The factory decided to focus on the upgrade for this season which, for the first time, included a move to a split turbine and compressor arrangement.

Otmar Szafnauer , team manager, says that the workers have done a “brilliant job” to reduce the gap with the rest. This is important, since development has been frozen until the end of 2025, but this performance improvement has brought reliability problems.

Fernando Alonso has been weighed down by these setbacks with the engines, suffering to be able to complete races and even some qualifying sessions.

In the first race of the year, held in Bahrain, Alonso managed to finish ninth, but it was partly thanks to the late double KO of Red Bull. Although, in principle, the rhythm problems could be explained by the high degradation of the tires, Alpine decided to check the engine.

The power unit was sent to Viry, where it was approved for use in the French manufacturer’s cars. Szafnauer wanted to send a reassuring message: “It was just a precautionary change, to be able to check some things on our test bench, and the tests went well.”

That engine can be used again, but not the Saudi Arabian one. A water pump failure caused overheating and Alonso’s subsequent retirement.

“Unfortunately, with the water pump, although the water pump is not part of the ICE and you can change it, the problem is that the ICE overheated, so that has been lost. But we will be fine,” Szafnauer explained. .

In the third race, held in Australia, Alonso used a third engine for the first time, but an accident in qualifying, when he was on his way to setting a great time, raised fears for the power unit.

It was the engine itself that caused the accident, as a drop in oil pressure activated a safety mode that switched off its power unit in the middle of a corner, but it survived the impact and was the one that was mounted for Sunday.

“It was an O-ring sealing the oil,” Szafnauer explained of the accident. “The o-ring broke and the oil leaked out. We have a failsafe mode to try to save the engine, so when it detects a drop in oil pressure, it starts up. That’s what happened. The solution was to change that o-ring.

In summary, Fernando Alonso has released three engines in three races, but only one of them, the one from Saudi Arabia, has been written off by the team. Keep in mind that this season the limit on the number of these items that can be used before receiving a penalty is three.

On the other hand, Szafnauer claims that, despite radio messages urging Esteban Ocon to cool down his engine, the Frenchman’s power unit is of no concern, blaming DRS.

“I was on a DRS train. If I had been up front, I wouldn’t have needed to.”

“If you think about the DRS train, and you have your cooling package [set up] for that, you add too much drag.”

“So the right thing to do is to be competitive, when that happens you have to pick up [your foot] and move on calmly or get out [of the train]. But you have to tell him, he doesn’t know.”

Despite all this, Alpine remains optimistic with an engine that ensures that it is only 10 horsepower away from the best power units on the grid.

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