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Rossi: It's either reliability or performance

Rossi: It’s either reliability or performance

Rossi: It's either reliability or performance
Alpine revealed their 2022 Formula 1 car, the A522 on Monday. It will have a brand new power unit, and CEO Laurent Rossi admits a choice had to be made between reliability and performance.

Along with the new 2022 aero regulations, there are new power unit regulations for this year, as the new PU designs will be frozen, with only changes related to reliability being allowed. The freeze will be effective until the end of the 2025 season, with new PU regulations set to be introduced for 2026.

Renault has struggled with it PU since the dawn of the turbo-hybrid era in 2014, and for 2022 the French company have designed a brand new PU to power Alpine’s A522 revealed on Monday. With the development freeze on the horizon, decisions needed to be taken on the design philosophy to pursue.

Choices had to be made

Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi spoke to the media in this regards and admits that either reliability or performances would be sacrificed.

“It’s either reliability or performance, as you usually have a hard time having both,” he said. “So it’s just where do you push the envelope?

“During the year [in development] we experienced a couple of moments where the reliability was not there, but that’s our choice because the only lever we are going to have at our disposal this year is reliability.”

With reliability-based changes only allowed this year, it would make sense to chase performance, and then sort out reliability gremlins once they pop out.

“So I told the team: you push the envelope far and I don’t care,” Rossi revealed. “I’d rather have to dial down on the performance but know that I’ve reached the peak of the performance I can get, than be reliable and just feel comfortable with a reliable engine that is not delivering performance.

“This, by the way, was the approach of the past,” he admitted. “So we pushed in the other direction. And the good news is we’ve been doing thousands of kilometres with this new PU in the past few weeks.”

Renault go down the split-turbo path

Renault have design a brand new PU this year from scratch, and went down the split-turbo path, where the compressor and the turbine are located on either side of the engine block, a design pioneered by Mercedes, whose PU’s are the benchmark in F1, especially during the turbo-hybrid era.

“The engine has been redesigned entirely,” Rossi said. “When I say brand new it is even in the concept.

“Firstly, that is split turbo, but that is only one of the visible elements that will make it more compact, enable us to move it closer to the driver, and therefore change the centre of gravity of the car,” he explained.

“It’s lighter and it’s capable of operating in a much wider range of conditions, temperature and pressure. So it’s really like a game changer for us.

“And I hope it will enable us to catch up and close the gap to the front,” the Alpine CEO hoped.