Vasseur joins Wolff on Alpine engine issue

Vasseur joins Wolff on Alpine engine issue

06-08-2023 12:25 Last update: 12:57
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Toby McLuskie

There are currently two things going on in Formula 1 in the background, both of which were also discussed at the F1 Commission during the Belgian Grand Prix weekend. Alpine wants permission for a performance boost to its engine, while mid and backfield teams are angling for permission to invest millions more in infrastructure to ensure they become more competitive in the future.

From 2022, engine development in Formula 1 has been frozen. No more improvements are allowed that provide extra performance from the power sources. But: updates related to improving reliability are allowed. This creates a bit of a tricky area of tension, because the less likely an engine breaks down, the more aggressively teams can tune their power units.

Toto Wolff also previously commented on the Alpine engine issue. The Mercedes team boss is wary of the introduction of a so-called Balance of Performance (BoP), although he is willing to think about a solution. Indeed, Renault/Alpine claims they are now some 30bhp behind the other engine suppliers.

Does Alpine really have that much less horsepower?

However, it was agreed by the engine suppliers that a solution would be looked at if indeed an engine supplier for one reason or another fell way behind. "It's true that when we decided to freeze the engine we considered that in exceptional circumstances we could try to find a way to support the guys who would be completely out of the range, I'm not sure that Renault is so far away," Frederic Vasseur said.

"We don't have the same numbers as Renault, it's the first time that my engineers are pessimistic compared to the other ones and if we have to do something it can't be a fuel flow." the Ferrari team boss joins Wolff. "We have the same approach with the wind tunnel allocation, the guy with P10 has more time into the wind tunnel, it's not that he has 10 kilos less, you allow the team or the PU manufacturer to develop and not you don't give him an advantage, it would be the start of the balance of performance."

Ferrari critical

Teams like Alpine and Williams have been vocal on many occasions about wanting to invest more in their infrastructure, such as a new wind tunnel. Such expenses fall outside the budget cap, but there are restrictions. As a team, you are not allowed to just put (hundreds of) millions more into your own organisation. There are now discussions on how to deal with this.

Vasseur is not in favour of having the regulations changed (too) often. "For me the good shape of the F1 today is due to the stability. If you start to change the regulation each week because someone has an issue or wants to invest somewhere, it's the end of the stability and it's a non-end process because today it's Williams who wants to have a new ERP system, tomorrow it will be another one who wants to buy new trucks, the other one someone who would like to have a last version of the simulator, it means that it's a non-end discussion," states the Frenchman.

"It's my point of view is that we have a regulation, we change many times the regulation and we have to be coherent that the cost cap was a mega step forward for the F1 in terms of stability, convergence of performance, profitability of the team and so, that it means that either we go in this direction and I'm fully supportive or it's the end of the cost cap."