The Renault engine lagged behind its rivals for the last two seasons, but the Viry factory made a big step forward over the winter, and this year its performance has improved a lot.
However, they have suffered from ongoing reliability problems, with both Alonso and Ocon missing out on the points with engine failure in Singapore .
Fernando Alonso will likely have to fit another new power unit and therefore take a grid penalty, possibly at Austin. For their part, the team hopes that Ocon can make it to the end of the season without having to use any new items.
“There are always teething problems,” technical director Pat Fry told Motorsport.com at Suzuka. “Obviously we’ve taken on a lot of things this year, changed a huge amount. And we’re really much better off in terms of performance because of what’s been done the last couple of years.”
“A great job has been done, but it was always done with the knowledge that we would look for performance and we would have to fix reliability. And I think that’s a brave way forward, right? all the world”.
What is worrying for Alpine and Renault is that the two failures that occurred in Singapore were not related.
“We discovered that they were two different problems, things happened differently,” said Esteban Ocon. “It’s frustrating not to finish the race, especially with everything that happened at the back of the grid. But the most important thing is that the car is performing at the end.”
“We’ve got a car that’s great, we’ve put in some updates that are working. So the car is competitive.
“We just need to have two normal weekends, on both sides. And get as many points as we can with the car we have, because it’s more than possible.”
“What I know is that we had two problems in that race at the beginning, and obviously later it failed. So it’s not something that normally happens because the engine has run without problems for the rest of the year.
Fry pointed out that Renault’s engineers now understand what went wrong at the Singapore GP, and are now working to find out why it happened.
“They were different problems,” he admitted. “The engines were back at the factory Tuesday lunchtime, disassembled and understanding of the problem, and we are working on it.”
“The problems are relatively new, I would say. You have to understand them, and until you get to the root cause, you’re never sure, right? So you have to do a good analysis.”
Asked if the heat and humidity in Singapore at the Marina Bay Circuit played a role, Fry replied: “It’s too early to tell. I mean it’s hard to believe that’s it, but we really don’t know, to be honest.”
The team had to decide how far they can make use of their remaining power units, and whether or not Singapore’s problems will reduce their life cycle.
Alonso seems to need a new engine no matter what, although the team has yet to make a final decision.
“I think until we understand the problem it’s hard to answer that question honestly,” Fry said when asked about possible changes.
“Honestly, I don’t know. At the moment, I don’t think we have to incur any penalties here.”
“Esteban has more or less considerable mileage left, with Fernando we have to think about it. But I insist, it all comes down to what the analysis says. Should we suddenly reduce the mileage or not? It’s difficult to know at this point until All the work has been done.”
Ocon remains hopeful that he can make it to the final race without further penalties.
“It should be fine,” said the Frenchman. “I cross my fingers until the end of the year, but the plan can change quickly, it is not known.”