Otmar Szafnauer has given explanations for Alpine’s reliability issues this year, responding specifically to Alonso’s persistent difficulties this season.
Fernando Alonso’s last race with Alpine ended with retirement, an outcome far too common for the Spaniard throughout the 2022 season.
Alpine’s A522 showed strong performance throughout the year, but persistent reliability issues often negated this impressive pace.
The French squad narrowly finished ahead of McLaren in the constructors’ standings, although this battle would have been more one-sided if Alpine’s car had been more reliable.
Alpine declared that performance would take priority over reliability before the season began, a decision which appears evident in the team’s issues this year.
Many have argued that Renault’s engine (while delivering reasonable power) does not have enough horsepower to justify its poor reliability.
Still, Otmar Szafnauer provided justifications to the media for Alpine’s engine difficulties in 2022:
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“Some of the conditions that produced some of the failures would be very difficult to replicate on the dyno.
“And when we did have those failures, we quickly got on top of them and corrected them.
“One of the failures was minor, an assembly error on the part of a mechanic putting the engine together.
“That kind of stuff is impossible to replicate when you’re doing dyno work.”
Despite this apparent vulnerability, Alpine has the opportunity to address its Achilles heel for next season.
Formula 1’s engine freeze does not apply to reliability upgrades, meaning the Enstone team can divert its resources into this area.
Even then, as Szafnauer identified, some of Alpine’s failures resulted from individual mistakes in the power unit assembly, which can be rectified in the future.
Alpine’s DNFs (alongside the Piastri saga) have proven significant challenges this year, but the team will look at 2023 as an opportunity to change the narrative surrounding them.