Alpine Executive Director Marcin Budkowski has explained that the COVID-19 pandemic and the delay of Formula 1's new technical regulations caused the team to put their new power unit on hold for 2022.
Whilst Honda, Mercedes and Ferrari have introduced new power units in the last 18 months, Alpine's Renault engine is the same internal combustion engine and has not changed since 2019.
"We have a competitive analysis and we have a fairly good idea of where we stack in terms of power, but also in terms of energy management, weight and packaging and things like this," Budkowski explained to RacingNews365.com and other select members of the press.
"It's the same engine we are using for the third consecutive year with very small changes in 2020 and 2021, but it's [the] 2019 engine we are using. As a result, some of our competitors made gains that we haven't. It's the same chassis and same gearbox as well, so the mechanical phase of the car has been the same for three years now.
"The choice was driven by the fact that we were planning to introduce [an] all-new engine in 2021, together with the new chassis regulations.
"The chassis regulations have been delayed, [so] we also delayed the introduction of the new engine to 2022 because unfortunately, with the factory closures and the working from home requirements we had last year, we were just unable to deliver it for 2021."
Fernando Alonso has been open about Alpine using this season to learn and prepare for a possible title challenge next year. Budkowski believes Alpine's decision to put all of their efforts into a new 2022 power unit is the right call.
"So we're in a slightly non-ideal situation where we had to delay our new power unit, which has beyond improvements to propulsive power and energy management, the kind of usual things that make [the car] quicker on a straight line," continued Budkowski.
"[It] has also a new architecture and changes that are designed to address some of our weaknesses compared to our competitors. But we didn't have the resources to relaunch the development programme on this year's engine and continue to work on the 2022 engines.
"So we've decided to put all our efforts on 2022, so it's a strategic decision. I believe it's the right one but it's painful, because as a result this year we lost ground compared to our competitors."
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