Alpine boss Bruno Famin readily acknowledges the team’s enduring engine deficit in F1 but insists an overall good car will go a long way towards offsetting its power unit woes.
Renault's Viry-Châtillon powertrain department took a calculated risk with last year's RE22 split-turbo engine design when it opted to prioritize performance gains over reliability before the unit’s specification was frozen by the FIA’s technical regulations.
That strategy assumed that any subsequent reliability issues could be addressed with the authorization of F1’s governing body.
However, as the 2023 season progressed, the RE23 - essentially a carryover from the RE22 - remained behind its Honda, Mercedes, and Ferrari rivals by around 20-30 bhp.
Renault initially attempted to gain approval for additional development hours that would have brought the engine in line with the competition for the remaining two years of the current regulations, with the FIA's support.
However, that approach was ultimately abandoned, and the French manufacturer shifted its focus entirely to developing a new engine for F1's all-new 2026 regulations, accepting the performance deficit of its engine for the upcoming seasons.
But that doesn’t imply a perennial status quo according to Famin who shed light on remedial measures that may be applied to mitigate Alpine’s relative engine shortfall.
“The pure ICE [Internal Combustion Engine] is a bit down, we know why,” Famin said. “We made it public, FIA made it public first.
“We are a bit down, but we can also work [on] the integration, we can work on the software, we can work on the cooling.
“We are working on all of that and we will see where we are with the competitors.”
Alpine's 2023 season started with promise but ultimately fell short of expectations with a sixth place position in F1’s final Constructors’ standings, a result that left a bitter taste of unfulfilled potential.
Recognizing the need for a significant change, the Enstone squad embarked on a "front-to-back overhaul" resulting in the radically different A524 unveiled last week.
While engine limitations will continue to weigh on overall performance, Famin emphasizes the importance of optimizing its entire package, regardless of its engine characteristics.
“At the end of the story, what we need is a good car, whatever is the engine,” he added.
“We have to improve the engine, but we have to improve the chassis, we have to improve the aero, we have to improve our understanding of the tyre, everything.
“And it’s all together we need to improve for sure.”