Ocon: Renault engine one of Alpine's 'good assets'

© XPB 

Esteban Ocon believes that Alpine's Renault power unit was one of the French outfit's best assets during the 2022 season.

At the end of last year, following a season in which the Renault power unit had been the weakest of the four engines on the grid and ahead of a PU regulation freeze, Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi directed Renault to go all-in on the development of its 2022-spec engine.

Engineers at Viry-Châtillon were ordered to prioritize performance over reliability in a bid to bridge the power gap with its rivals.

The result was a much more competitive car and engine for Alpine, which finished fourth in F1's Constructors' standings, although reliability issues weighed at times on results, especially on Fernando Alonso's side of the garage.

Ocon reckoned that Alpine's power plant was a key component of the A522's overall package and will hopefully remain that way in 2023.

"I think it’s very good, it’s one of our good assets," the Frenchman said recently.

"As we’ve seen in Brazil we had good straight-line speed, very good, I was quite impressed with that, we were able to do good overtakes.

"I don’t have the numbers, I’m not really too curious on that side, I let the engineer look at that, but it’s definitely working well."

Alpine's Bruno Famin, the man in charge of the manufacturer's engine department said his crews had taken "quite a lot of risk" to achieve performance gains.

"The risk we took is in trying to develop as late as possible the engine and taking the risk not to do the full validation process we could have done normally," explained Famin, quoted by The Race.

"We really wanted to push to the very last moment, and sometimes a bit too late because we had some issues.

"But we really wanted to push the maximum on the development side. We even introduced modifications to our engine very late before the start of the season.

"It is in that way we took some risks because I think our strategy was clear. It was to be back in the game in terms of the power unit and it has been achieved."

Famin also highlighted the importance of Alpine switching to a split turbo architecture that led to a repackaging of the engine that crucially gave the chassis design team more creative freedom.

Overall, the A522's package reached an optimal compromise.

"Of course, the performance of the PU is very important," added Famin. "But if we can have a gain on the aero, on the chassis side, by making some compromise on the PU side, we have done it on.

"We worked a lot on that in terms of integration, in terms of weight, in terms of cooling.

"That’s really the major change. It’s more than a change in the technical philosophy, it’s a change in the way of working with Enstone, in fact."

Esteban Ocon (FRA) Alpine F1 Team A522. 29.10.2022. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 20, Mexican Grand Prix, Mexico City, Mexico, Qualifying

Famin believes Alpine will head into 2023 with a power unit practically on a par with its Ferrari, Mercedes and Honda rivals.

"It’s a positive season because in terms of performance we really closed the gap," he said.

"Renault was among the more significant differences between the different power units on the grid.

"Between the best and the worst, I think the difference has been divided by three or four compared to last year.

"We are very happy with that."

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter