Alpine: Redesigned power unit boosted A522 aero gains


Alpine technical director Matt Harman says the new architecture of Renault's 2022 engine allowed the team's engineers to "express themselves" aerodynamically while designing the A522.

In a bid to boost the performance of its power unit and bridge the gap with its rival engine manufacturers, Renault's engine department has designed an all-new unit for this season.

And the new PU built in Viry-Châtillon now features the split turbo and compressor design pioneered by Mercedes in 2014 at the start of F1's hybrid era and also exploited by Honda.

While the new architecture will hopefully deliver a healthy performance increase, the second benefit of the change resides on the aerodynamic front, as Harman explained at the launch of Alpine's 2022-spec car on Monday.

"At the very beginning of these regulations, we actually started with the power unit mainly because it does set some of the key areas of the car aerodynamically," said Harman.

"We did a full review of this area of the car and we decided to change the architecture of that power unit extensively in all areas including the internal combustion engine, the ERS, the turbo and its positioning in the car and that has given us some real gains in terms of our ability to express ourselves aerodynamically and achieve that ultimate lap time of the car."


Harman highlighted the close collaboration between Alpine's chassis and engine departments in Enstone and in Viry-Châtillon.

"In terms of the Viry and Enstone integration we are a works team and we need to make 100% use of that benefit and we have done," he added.

"So from the very start of our programme we worked closely together to actually start off with the people, start off how we integrate the people first, how we integrate the functions and from that comes very good engineering conversations and from that comes excellent engineering solutions.

"It’s been primarily focused on the organisations and making sure that although we are separate in terms of geography, in terms of our engineering discussions we are together and we are together on every decision.

"I think that’s an important part of being a works team in modern Formula 1."

Formula 1 engine development has been frozen until the end of 2025. But the aerodynamic development of Alpine's A522 will run its course this season, which has required the French outfit's engineers to anticipate how certain elements attached to the engine will also need to evolve.

"In terms of the RE22 and the design for its entire life, it’s been an interesting programme," said Harman.

"We don’t fundamentally know everything about how we are going to operate it so we’ve had to make some simulations.

"And we’ve taken some conclusions from that to enable us not only to design the power unit but also design the transmission that is linked to it and how that transmission will need to change based on the aerodynamic developments that we will continue to have throughout even though the power unit may be homologated and frozen."

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