Alpine F1 driver Fernando Alonso is pleased with the progress that Renault have made with their engine in 2022 after the team’s solid start to the year.
Alonso and team-mate Esteban Ocon have together scored points in the opening two rounds of the season, and looked as though they were on to maintain a 100 percent record of points scoring finishes from the first two races before a reliability failure put Alonso out of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix late on.
Nonetheless, the Enstone-based team were running as the standout best midfield team for much off the evening in Jeddah, and the 40-year-old is delighted that Renault have vastly reduced the arrears to some of the other power unit manufacturers.
“We are very happy with the performance of our engine. We believe that we are playing in the same league as the others from this year,” said Alonso.
“We were able to fight on the straights with the others in Jeddah and Bahrain, let’s wait and see if that is confirmed.”
Estimates suggest that Alpine’s car was circa 20kph slower than the Honda-powered Red Bull in Saudi Arabia.
However, while Mercedes, Ferrari and Honda can all cross-reference their engines with other teams who use the same power unit, Alpine are now the only team running Renault power.
As a result, it is difficult to draw direct comparisons as to where Alpine’s chassis lies in the pecking order, but the fact that they look in a good position to score points and capitalise on errors from Mercedes is a promising sign.
“The Ferrari engine and the Honda are still a little ahead, but Renault is there. We lack a second reference team but the data is encouraging,” he added, indicating that Renault’s PU is at least on par with Mercedes.
Esteban Ocon said over the winter that Alpine’s “package overall is not strong enough,” and the team suffered an engine failure in Jeddah as well as a sidepod breaking apart in Sakhir.
The two-time world champion insists that his team must get to work in rectifying these issues.
“Yes, we must continue to investigate the problems we had in the first two races and resolve them for the rest of the season,” he affirmed.
Alpine sit fourth in the Constructors’ Championship after two rounds of the 2022 season, four points ahead of Haas.