The F1 commission met at the Belgian Grand Prix and on the agenda was engine equalisation. Alpine claimed that their power unit supplier, Renault, needed to recover a 30bhp deficit to Ferrari, Mercedes, and Honda. The only problem is that the other manufacturers aren’t so sure if that’s accurate.
At the moment, there’s an F1 engine freeze which is why in 2022 we saw Alpine targeting high power goals in their design at the expense of reliability. The rules state that a manufacturer can only improve durability past the engine freeze. However, it seems that Alpine management are worried they have a significant deficit and want to see if the other teams support performance-balancing measures.
Ferrari F1 boss, Frederic Vasseur, has doubts over the severity of the problem. He believes exceptional circumstances could be allowed for manufacturers who were “completely out of range” but he was “not sure that Renault is so far away.”
Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff, has thrown his hat in the ring to say that his teams’ own measurements suggest that the Renault power unit doesn’t fall past a 3% performance deficit relative to rivals and so do not qualify for special circumstances.
“How we designed the regulations was that for 2026, if one of the constructors would fall outside of 3% to the best power unit, we would allow them to have more dyno time and we would act in the best faith and find regulations,” Wolff said.
“Now, we’re not talking about 2026, but we’re mid into those regulations and it’s true it’s frozen. But Fred is absolutely right, we don’t see anything close to 3%.”
“Number two,” he continued, “we cannot make up regulations on the fly just because someone doesn’t perform. Therefore, if you’re going to change them for the next cycle, then fine, but I think that with 3% we are in a good place and certainly not fiddle with the PU or give them more fuel flow or any of these things.
“Work yourself out, the same would be for us, I might be biting my tongue in three years. Work yourself out. You’re getting more dyno time and sort it out.”