Alpine: Alonso’s engine used in Jeddah lost

The beginning of the championship reserved lights and shadows for Alpine. From the point of view of performance, the A522 has shown in both the first two rounds of the season that it can compete for a place in the top ten, especially on the flying lap. Qualities that allowed the drivers to fight steadily in the points, even if in the Saudi Arabian race one of the two cars was forced to retire due to a technical failure.

A serious wake-up call for the Enstone team, because the Power Unit aboard Fernando Alonso’s car had been mounted at the very beginning of the weekend. A decision that came following some checks completed after the Bahrain Grand Prix, which had prompted the engineers to proceed with caution by replacing the unit used at Sakhir in order to complete further analyzes. Reliability problems that will force the Spaniard to have to use his third Power Unit in as many Grands Prix, given that the engine used in the Jeddah weekend will no longer be usable. This was confirmed by the CEO of the Alpine, Laurent Rossi, who explained how the failure that emerged in the water pump would have been impossible to repair: “The problem is connected to the water pump, which this year is integrated into the motor. When it was destroyed, it fell inside. If we wanted to fix the fault we would have had to break the seals and we would have lost the engine. Although physically the integrity of the engine was not affected by the problem, we now have one less unit, ”Rossi told Autohebdo.

Youth problems of a completely revised project for 2022, thanks to a long development period that led the Viry-Chilton technicians to make significant changes before the engines freeze. An approach devoted to performance, in order to close the gap from competitors, even if this has meant taking some risks in terms of reliability: “We hope to solve the problem for Melbourne. This is a failure due to the novelties of the project that we have not had the opportunity to validate. The advantage is that it is not something structural. The engine itself, its design and design choices should not be questioned, because the engine is performing as we expected, ”added Rossi.

The team’s hope is to recover at least the unit used in Bahrain, avoiding a double penalty which, in any case, seems a rather concrete possibility if other problems were to be reconsidered during the season.

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