Renault doesn't support push to tweak 2026 F1 power unit rules

Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer says that Renault is happy with the 2026 Formula 1 power unit regulations and doesn't back the push for an adjustment.

Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal, Alpine F1 Team

In recent weeks some engine manufacturers have indicated that the rules should perhaps be revisited while there is still time, with particular reference to the current 50:50 balance between combustion engine and electrical power.

Christian Horner has been particularly vocal on behalf of Red Bull Powertrains, claiming that drivers will have to change down on the straights and that teams will have to build “Frankenstein” cars.

Ferrari’s Fred Vasseur, meanwhile, has indicated that the Maranello team is open to discussion on tweaks, adding that a 5% change in the electrical/ICE split could make a big difference.

He also insists that more information is needed about the chassis regulations before any decisions are made.

However, Szafnauer says that Renault is happy with the rules as originally agreed.

“Speaking to the powertrain guys, we want to keep it as is,” he said when asked about the situation by Autosport.

“Now I don't deeply follow it, I wasn't involved in the negotiations and the reasons why, but I asked them those questions. And yeah, we're happy to keep it as is. So I would imagine it's going to be unlikely that it's changed.”

Szafnauer also downplayed Horner’s reference to Frankenstein cars.

“We haven't quite gotten that far yet,” he said. "We haven't determined that yet. I hope it isn't a Frankenstein package.

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A523, arrives on the grid

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A523, arrives on the grid

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

“I remember being in all the meetings to determine what the regulations are now, and everybody, including me, said all the racing is going to be horrible, all the cars are going to look the same, it's not going to be F1 anymore, and all that.

“That really didn't happen. So it's hard to predict the future, especially when the [chassis] regulations haven't been determined. So hopefully, we'll get there.”

Horner has suggested that Red Bull is more concerned about 2026 than some rivals because the company is further along with its development, and has thus discovered the pitfalls earlier.

Szafnauer is sceptical about the claim that Red Bull is ahead of the game, while acknowledging it is impossible to know how far others have got with their R&D.

“It's one of those things where you have to have perfect information to be able to compare those two things,” he said. “And I don't. I know where we are. I don't know where the rest of them are.

“I worked at other engine manufacturers before. So I can only imagine what Honda have done already, once they've decided that they're going to be in. So I'd be surprised [about Red Bull].”

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