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Alpine F1 Team

Szafnauer reveals engine 'disguise' ahead of parity talks

Alpine's Renault power unit is believed to be down on power compared to rivals.

Szafnauer British GP
To news overview © XPBimages

Otmar Szafnauer has welcomed Christian Horner's openness to discussing parity for power units in Formula 1 ahead of a crucial meeting.

At the F1 Commission meeting at this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix, it is understood that creating engine parity between the four manufacturers will be discussed with the possibility of developments being allowed.

Performance-based upgrades to power units have been banned since the start of 2022, with teams only allowed to bring reliability improvements with the rule set to be in place until the end of '25 before the new regulations come into force from '26.

However, RacingNews365 understands that the Renault power unit in the Alpine machine is down on power compared to the offerings from Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull Powertrains/Honda.

Red Bull boss Horner indicated that he would be willing to have sensible discussions about allowing Renault to increase parity, something Szafnauer appreciates.

Alpine counterpart Szafnauer also revealed a "disguise" that is potentially available to teams to make power improvements.

Horner backs talks

"I'm glad Christian said that, because if you look back at the reason engines were frozen [ahead of 2022] it was because Honda was pulling out at that time," Szafnauer told media including RacingNews365.

"Red Bull did not have an engine department to continue developing, so the reason we all agreed for it was for the benefit of Red Bull.

"It is quite nice that Christian recognises that and at the time of the agreement, there was also an agreement among the engine manufacturers that if anybody fell outside of 1% [of difference in performance] then there would be good faith discussions to bring that parity back."

Szafnauer was also asked how Renault could fall behind in engine power under a rules freeze but believed the so-called 'parity' was never there after Renault made a huge upgrade to the power unit ahead of 2022.

"I'm not sure that parity was actually there," Szafnauer said.

"Everybody is allowed to fix your reliability issues, and reliability issues can sometimes be power upgrades depending on what you are fixing.

"I remember in 2007 when we froze the V8s, I was the one who received every request from other teams for Honda.

"All the requests back then was for cost-saving as well as reliability, and I passed them to the correct engineers, but there's a lot of stuff that can be disguised as reliability and then you increase the power."

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