Former Alpine team boss speaks out about engine inequality in F1: ‘Will remain until 2026’

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Former Alpine team boss speaks out about engine inequality in F1: 'Will remain until 2026'

In an interview with Peter Windsor, former Alpine team boss Otmar Szafnauer has claimed that a gentlemen’s agreement between teams has been broken, putting Renault at a disadvantage in engine development. The former team leader shared insights on the situation at his last Formula 1 committee meeting, where the FIA ​​put the issue on the agenda.

Szafnauer explained: “When the engine regulations were such that we had to freeze development so that Red Bull could use a Honda engine that would not be developed, I was not there, but there was a gentlemen’s agreement that said that if the output of the powertrain of all manufacturers differed by a percentage, they would look at what to do to get everyone on the same page.’

Impact on Renault performance

The former Alpine team boss emphasized Renault’s efforts to hold the other teams to their promises. “We had a meeting where I pushed hard on behalf of Renault to get the other engine manufacturers to do exactly what they promised when the engine development freeze came about,” he explains.

Szafnauer lamented the broken agreement and its impact on Renault’s performance. ‘But a gentlemen’s agreement in Formula 1 is sometimes worth it and sometimes not. I think that inequality – just because it’s really hard to change now – will probably remain until 2026. So two more years, 2024 and 2025,” he says.

Barely any possibility for change

The former team boss pointed out the challenges of correcting the powertrain differences. “We have all worked as one team, but the problem with the drivetrain discrepancy is that it is fixed. Even if you wanted to change it, you have limitations.” He also emphasized the limited scope for improvements. ‘You can only make changes for the sake of reliability and that doesn’t give you much leeway to improve the unit’s performance. And that in itself, if you have that shortcoming, is difficult to overcome,” Szafnauer said.

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