Alpine A521, 2021

Renault evaluating move to Mercedes-style layout in new power unit design for 2022

2021 F1 season

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Renault is considering whether to follow Mercedes’ lead in engine layout when it introduces a new power unit design for the 2022 F1 season.

Mercedes, which has won every championship under the current hybrid power unit regulations, differed from its rivals with its design when the rules were introduced in 2014. The manufacturer split the turbo from the compressor, connecting the two using a shaft running between the two cylinder banks on its V6.

Honda adopted a similar design in 2017. Ferrari is also rumoured to be considering the same solution.

Now Renault has admitted it may do the same with its next power unit, which it plans to introduce next year, in time for the freeze on engine development.

Asked today whether the manufacturer could adopt the Mercedes solution, engine technical director Remi Taffin said: “The simple answer is yes.”

“We could be going down that route,” he added.

Renault’s power units are used exclusively by its performance brand Alpine in F1. It previously intended to introduce a new power unit for this year, but postponed those plans last year due to the disruption caused by the pandemic.

“We had to make this decision last year when we had to shut down for more than two months and re-plan what we had to do,” said Taffin. “That’s a decision we took actually in March last year.

“When you actually go for a decision like that, you can only follow it, and that’s what we did. So we will just work and build on what we have done last year.

“I reckon that that we could do well. Obviously, I would have preferred to have this ’21 engine that we now have for ’22. But at some point you have to make some plans and follow them, especially in that case.”

“We’re quite happy we can have actually a big push for ’22,” he added. “So we are trying, even pushing further forward some of the evolution we had in ’23 into ’22. So it has been a different game but, all in all, if we look at the long game, I think that’s not a bad decision we had, a year ago.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 8 comments on “Renault evaluating move to Mercedes-style layout in new power unit design for 2022”

    1. I guess with changes to the engine limited to reliability concerns in the engine freeze period, it’s wise to do big changes to the layout now, so one can still do alterations for ‘reliability’..

    2. You had 7 yeara to swallow your pride Viry.

      1. It has nothing to do with pride. Ferrari haven’t copied Mercedes either. And considering Renault had the 2nd best engine last year they are doing alright without it.

    3. Given its taken them 7 years to get something half decent that would actually hold together, I can’t help but think this is an extremely risky move, especially since designs will be frozen.

      No wonder RBR were so keen to pursue their own PU rather than use Renault/Alpine/Briatore (or whatever they end up calling them) PU’s

      1. @dbradock

        What’s more disappointing is that they didn’t introduce the concept this year. They could have ironed out a lot of issues this season and been ready for 2022. Right now, it sounds like a bit of a hail Mary for next season.

        Renault definitely doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence with their comments.

        1. indeed @todfod, cannot think that Taffin feels the same about it being a missed opportunity, and with this team not having taken up well all the opportunities (any?) so far that presented itself, it is rather hard to see them actually taking Alonso to a third WDC. Hope to be surprised positively, like with the livery (not shiny, but ‘anodised’ look as someone mentioned, but I liked that with the 1st year egg-yellow to and seems to fit the blue).

    4. It obviously has packaging and cooling benefits – look at how much the rear of the new McLaren got sucked and tapered in after “bodge fitting” a Merc engine in!

    5. How long before GP2 Engine?

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