Alpine boss says Renault will be allowed to fix reliability woes despite freeze

Fernando Alonso retired from six races in 2022, with Alpine having suffered from horrific power unit reliability.

Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer is seemingly expecting big things in 2023, with the Romanian-American firmly believing that “more points” will be possible, thanks to solving their reliability issues.

The Enstone-based team had an incredible package for the start of the new aerodynamic era of Formula 1, with the A522 having been comfortably the fourth best car on the grid.

What let Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso down, though, was how shocking the reliability of the outfit’s power unit was.

It became evident very early last year that Alpine had opted for performance over reliability, with their engine having been one of the most powerful but also the most likely to go bang!

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Alonso in particular discovered this time and time again, with the double World Champion having retired from an astonishing six races in 2022, costing him 70 points, according to the driver himself.

Pierre Gasly will be glad to hear that the side have hopefully solved their reliability issues, with the engine freeze ban currently in place allowing reliability tweaks to be made.

The French side did manage to claim fourth in the Constructors’ Championship despite their endless grid penalties for power unit changes, with Szafnauer now looking forward to seeing where the team will end up with a reliable package.

“I think fourth is probably where we deserve to be,” Szafnauer said, per RACER.

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“We should have had a few more points than we do, we had some reliability issues so not really on performance, and I look forward to fixing those next year because they’re allowed to be fixed from a powertrain perspective. You can make those changes.

“We should have a more reliable powertrain next year even though some of the issues we had weren’t really with the powertrain, they were with the ancillary bits. We have to redesign those and fix them.

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“I think if we can do that with the powertrain being frozen – and I have every confidence that we will – then I think we’ll naturally score more points.

“Had we been reliable all year, you probably heard Fernando say ‘I’d be 60 points down the road’ or whatever it is. I don’t know how many it is but it’s definitely a significant amount, double digits, so instead of [14] points ahead we could be 70 ahead, something like that.

“So if we just do that and the performance level stays relatively the same we should be further up the road.

“But we also want to take a step in performance, and it’s harder to do on the powertrain because it’s frozen, so you have to do it by understanding the chassis, doing a better job on chassis engineering, having two drivers that can continually score. So that’s our focus.”