The F1 power unit equalisation has become a hot topic in the last couple of weeks especially due to the lack on the side of Alpine.
Over the coming week, there will be discussions held regarding F1 engine equalisation. Among the four manufacturers, Alpine voiced their opinion and concern that their current engine is not up there with their rivals like Mercedes, Honda and Ferrari.
In fairness, everyone else is struggling too as Red Bull have been in a league of their own this year with 11 races and 11 wins. They are unstoppable and an almost frightening level of domination, not seen even when McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes were the dominant teams.
The season is half over but many are saying overall that it is as good as over as the other nine F1 teams are massively struggling to get within an asses roar of Red Bull. However, there is a possibility that all this could change and see regulations change to bring the field closer together.
In short, there will be discussions held in Belgium this week and top of the agenda will be engine equalisation. This has been brought to the table by Alpine who did reveal they cannot match their F1 rivals at the moment. So much so, the FIA undertook research of other power unit performance and have decided it is a converstion worth having.
Alpine’s Renault plant is up to 33 bhp slower than their rivals. But due to engine freezing until 2025, the French F1 manufacturer are not in a position to make any significant changes to bring them closer to other power plants.
Paddock opinion is varied and until discussions are held, the exercise will still up in the air. Two individuals who will have something to say Christian Horner and Otmar Szafnauer talk regarding the matter with the Milton Keynes based team boss up first.
“It is about seeing what are the deficits,” said the Red Bull F1 team boss. “The FIA have all of the data and they should present exactly what the differences are. That would be fascinating for everybody to see. If there is a deficit under homologation, then it’s something that we should be sensible about otherwise, you’re locked in for two years, so I wouldn’t be averse to a sensible discussion.”
Alpine’s chief appreciated Horner’s call to table the topic for discussions. “All the teams do the same analysis and the FIA does the same analysis,” said Szafnauer. “We are aware significantly down. I am glad Christian did that because if you look back the reason the engines were frozen was because Honda was pulling out at that time and Red Bull didn’t have an engine department to continue developing”.
“So the reason we all agreed was for the benefit of Red Bull so it is nice that Christian recognises that and at the time of the agreement there was also an agreement among the engine manufacturers that if anybody feel out of 1% then there would be good faith discussions to bring that parity back,” summed up Szafnauer.
Renault as a F1 power unit were fast before the freeze was announced. As a unit, they were then struck by reliability maladies but power was still fine. If an engine freeze is on, then how can a team fall back would be the burning question.
“Two things,” he started. “I am not sure that parity was actually there and secondly I don’t know, but the FIA will know, everybody is allowed to fix their reliability issues and hidden in reliability issues can sometimes be power upgrades. It depends what reliability issue you are fixing”.
“I remember in 2007 when we froze the V8s I was the one who received every request from other teams for Honda, they came to me first, all the requests back then were for cost saving and reliability. Then I’d pass them on to the correct engineers. But there is a lot of stuff that can be disguised as reliability and then you increase the power.”
It is an interesting topic and discussion which is to happen. But whether there is a solution or what comes off it is the key question. For the sake of the sport and competition, maybe it is a good idea headed in the right direction.
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