The chiefs of Ferrari, Honda and Alpine discuss about the work on their F1 2021 and 2022 power units and the progress they have made.

The F1 Russian GP weekend saw a significant development with regard to engine for Charles Leclerc, as Ferrari introduced their new power unit. The Monegasque played down the over the top significance of it that would see him make significant leaps up the grid.

But his performance from the back of the field did work out well, even though, it ended in a disaster due to rain. For Ferrari, the power unit is still a work in progress looking at 2022 and beyond. They are using the current races to fine-tune and top it up well.

“First of all it’s fair to say that the main target with this power unit is above all to work for next year, so the big push from the company to try to bring this new hybrid system as early as now, is to make sure that we can confirm that all the processes, all the direction of development that we have for next year’s PU is confirmed with the race track feedback,” said Ferrari Sporting Director, Laurent Mekies.

“It’s one thing to have the simulation, it’s one thing to have the dyno tests, it’s much better if we can have on-track confirmation so that’s why we are doing it. Of course, doing so in that manner means that we will have a sporting penalty to deal with, but again it’s consistent with our focus to next year and to try to give priority to that.

“We don’t have outstanding comments about changes that he could feel but because we know there is no silver bullet these days, it’s about implementing small steps in every area and that’s what we are trying to do, so the hybrid system is no different to that,” summed up Mekies, who further elaborated on when Carlos Sainz gets it.

Since Leclerc had his engine destroyed early on, Ferrari were forced to give him a new one. On Sainz side, it is not the straightforward case. Despite that, the Spaniard is expected to get the new one at some point in 2021, but it is certain that both Haas and Alfa Romeo won’t be using the new power unit this year.

“That’s a tricky one because as we said, the difference in performance is never going to be huge because it’s all about adding these small steps,” said Mekies regarding Sainz. “The sporting penalty is significant. We are also fighting for every single point for the Constructors’ championship so we are trying to evaluate when it is reasonable to do it from performance versus penalty point of view.

“Of course, you should not do it too late because the more you wait, the less you will have benefits from the switch so I think in the next couple of races we will probably make the call,” summed up Mekies. The Sochi weekend not just saw Ferrari, but also Max Verstappen take a new engine as Red Bull had to take an engine penalty at some stage.

But it doesn’t come with anything new as Honda already brought an upgrade on Energy Store during Belgium GP. Explaining further on their update, Toyoharu Tanabe said: “The purpose of the new energy store, there are some reasons: one is the performance, then the reliability, then the weight. And the performance means efficient electricity system that contributes to the PU performance.

“Then, the reliability, we developed that energy store in collaboration with Honda R&D and then our engineers closely worked with our supplier, then it means that much more high quality than the previous one. Of course, in this sport reliability is very important for the PU point of view because of the sporting regulations. And then another one is weight, so to tell you the truth… it means our energy store was a little bit heavier than the regulation so now we tried to match the regulation low limit so the weight contributes to the total car performance, so those three aspects improved our total car performance.”

While there has been lots of talk about Mercedes, Honda and Ferrari, the Renault/Alpine side has been quietly working on their 2022 power unit. They didn’t bring significant changes in 2021 and wanted to put more of their update on next year’s engine.

“e said, in the last few months, we are focusing on our 2022 package so we have a whole new engine coming for next year but we’ve developing for a couple of years now and we aim to introduce it just before the freeze for the first race next year, obviously if the freeze does happen and so yeah, we’ve pretty much carried over the engine for next year to this year to be able to focus all our attention on next year’s package,” said Marcin Budkowski.

The story was co-written by Neil Farrell

Here’s Mercedes on what they are doing

Here’s Charles Leclerc on Ferrari power unit

Here’s Honda on their new ES