In their second year of competition under the Alpine banner, the Enstone based team seem to have developed a relatively competitive car under Formula 1’s sweeping new regulations.
Look no further than the potential Fernando Alonso showed during qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix, with the Spaniard on pace to start amongst the top teams until a mechanical failure cut his session short.
It’s evident that Alpine have made progress on their power unit for 2022 but executive director Bruno Famin is adamant he has no interest in the specific horsepower figures of the engine as he looks at the broader picture, the overall performance of the car.
“To be honest I don’t care about that,” he said, speaking with Motorsport.com. “What I care about is the performance of the car.
“We made some choices on the PU to have the best car. Maybe we could have done a better figure on the dyno, but with a slower car at the end.
“Instead, the A522 has been designed with the engine, and the engine has been designed to get the best compromise for the best car. We will keep working in that way.”
Notably, Alpine have decided to work in the direction of a split turbo and compressor, the design which Mercedes first used in 2014 when the current turbo hybrid power units were introduced. Famin says this has allowed the team to better package the power unit, opening up possibilities for the car aero.
“It’s a good example of what I was saying, it's a better packaging mainly, it's the type of choice we made together with Enstone, but it's not the only one.
“It’s one of the examples of improving packaging of the car to have a better aero, to have a lower centre of gravity and to have, at the end, a better car - because the Alpine car will make the result and score points.”
Famin joined Alpine with the goal of better integrating the team's engine facility in Viry-Chatillon with the Formula 1 team’s base in Enstone. The Frenchman discussed the investment the team have put towards the facility.
“We keep investing in the facilities.” He said. “We have a brand-new building for the engine, for the PU assembly.
“We are renewing all the ground floor in the historical building. More than that, we keep investing in new facilities, new dyno, new benches, new things to keep working, to prepare the development of the next generation.”
In addition to the investment in the team’s facilities, Famin believes the shift towards online collaboration forced by the Covid pandemic has helped alleviate some of the problems the team have faced in the past as a result of the geographical distance between their two facilities.
“Maybe COVID helped us in that way,” said Famin. “Covid made everybody everywhere a new way of working together.
“If you have one guy in Enstone and one guy in Viry, it's almost the same as having one guy in Viry and one guy working in his house 20km from Viry.
“So, it's a new collaborative way, of course. We also send the right signs, in terms of senior management together with Otmar [Szafnauer, team boss], with Pat Fry and with Matt Harman.
“We are fully on the same line and we are sending the right messaging to our guys.
“The fact that the 2022 engine and cars are back in the game is proof of concept. The guys are understanding that this is the way to go at all levels.
“I think everything is looking in the right way, We will not fail on that one with Otmar, for sure.
“We know that it's the way to win, and we will push everyone on that route.”