Alpine denies 2022 engine ’concept’ wrong
"It was the water pump"
Fernando Alonso is "already on the edge" with his engine allocation for 2022, according to Russian Formula 1 commentator Alexey Popov.
Alpine is boasting about a solid start to its 2022 campaign, but Spaniard Alonso has been plagued with engine trouble so far - including in Saudi Arabia.
"It wasn’t the engine itself," team CEO Laurent Rossi told the French magazine Auto Hebdo. "It was the water pump. That led to a number of problems.
"The engine was cooled less, the oil temperatures rose," he said of Alonso’s Saudi Arabian GP. "Fernando was able to continue for a while, albeit not in the best of conditions.
"But then we preferred to tell him to stop."
However, Rossi insists it’s not a "fundamental, structural" problem for the Renault-owned outfit.
"Basically, these are parts that are still new and not fully tested. But that’s good, as the engine itself is healthy and sound in terms of concept and architecture," he said.
"If we had repaired this engine, we would have had to open it and break the FIA seal. So the engine is lost anyway, even if it didn’t break down."
Match TV broadcaster Alexey Popov, though, says Alonso’s early 2022 problems really are significant for the two-time champion.
"Alonso is already on the edge, and that’s not just for a hyped up headline. He really is on the verge in terms of engines, after two races out of 23.
"The first one, ok - there was a problem. We had even stopped laughing at ’El Plan’. Compared to the tests, Alpine was better, starting to score points, and he would have been quite high in the order in Jeddah.
"But two races, two engines? I suppose it is possible that he will use this engine now for 15 races in a row and nothing will happen. But as of now, everything does not look very rosy," the Russian insisted.