Had Renault manufactured the best power unit in 2021, Alpine “would not have been so far behind Ferrari and McLaren throughout last season,” a source has told Spanish publication AS.
Renault have not made any significant updates to their power unit since 2018, when they began developing it for the 2019 season.
Work was done in Enstone to allow for a more reliable power unit in 2020, and no real alterations took place ahead of the 2021 season, when Renault was re-named Alpine.
Reports suggest that McLaren improved by three-tenths of a second when they dropped Renault and switched to Mercedes power last year.
Change is afoot in Formula 1 in 2022, as the aerodynamic efficiency of the cars is being significantly reduced in a move that includes the return of ground effect.
The updated regulations also involve a freeze on engine development, which precludes teams from developing their engines throughout the season.
As a result, Renault have manufactured an all-new power unit for Alpine ahead of the new season, and AS report that the engine will a significant step forward on the “burden” that was the 2021 machine.
Alpine ran with an unusually large airbox last year, owing to a necessity to cool the engine due to the unique design of their chassis.
Alpine driver Esteban Ocon recognises that the French team’s engine is not the only thing that needs to be worked on.
“We know that we can progress in many aspects. In the chassis, we are not close to the ‘top’ teams and in the engine we are also far away,” he is quoted as saying by AS.
“You cannot blame a just element of the car. The package overall is not strong enough.”
However, the Frenchman is confident that success for the Enstone outfit is not a million miles away.
“But we know there are improvements on the way and the people building this car won a lot of races and two titles not too many years ago,” he explained.
“When you go to Viry or Enstone You still breathe the spirit of 2005 and 2006. They have it in their DNA. It’s only a matter of time before that materialises.”
Alpine ended the 2021 campaign fifth in the Constructors’ Championship, 168.5 points adrift of third-placed Ferrari.
Fernando Alonso ended his first season back in the sport 10th in the Drivers’ Championship – one place above Ocon.