Despite the excess use of engine exhausts in the first half of the 2021 season, Alpine is confident that it can successfully avoid incurring grid penalties for either of its driver, according to Alpine’s executive director Marcin Budkowski.
Each team is allowed to use eight exhausts per driver before grid penalties are imposed. The French outfit uses up seven for Esteban Ocon and five for teammate Fernando Alonso, with other teams not using more than four in the first 11 Grands Prix.
“What we’re doing now is really managing the pool. We have a number of exhausts per car for the season, we just need to manage it. And effectively you manage them between practice sessions, qualifying, race, by having a bit more resources in your pool you can use them in the most efficient way for the rest of the season,” Budkowski said.
“We have introduced a few exhausts at the beginning of the year to contain the risk. We believe we solved this issue now with a spec of exhaust we introduced during the season.
“So touch wood, we don’t expect to take penalties this season. But obviously, as we’ve used a few more than we would have liked to at the beginning of the season, then we are exposed.”
Budkowski also talked about Renault as an engine manufacturer, with a new engine set to be introduced in 2022 following delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although he admitted that they are in a “non-ideal situation”, he expressed that the decision to push the new engine for 2022 was the right one.
“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 quicker on a straight line has also a new architecture and changes that are designed to address some of our weaknesses compared to our competitors,” Budkowski explained.
“But it’s a 2019 engine we are using. As a result, some of our competitors made gains that we haven’t.
“I believe it’s the right one [decision] but it’s painful because as a result this year we lost ground compared to our competitors,” Budkowski concluded.