Motorsport.com revealed over the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend that the idea of introducing a mechanism to equalise power units among the manufacturers has been tabled by the FIA for discussion at this week’s meeting of the F1 Commission.
The decision to make this move is based on concerns that the Alpine team, using the Renault engine, is lagging behind competitors and may have a power deficit of up to 30hp.
While not confirming any figures, Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer has admitted that the French manufacturer is adrift of the opposition – which is hampering its competitive fortunes.
When questioned about how his engine compares to the competition, he mentioned that all teams and the FIA conduct similar analyses. However, he admitted that our engine is noticeably underperforming.
Teams typically do not prefer to give their rivals an advantage in performance, but the circumstances surrounding equalization during a power unit freeze are unique.
Due to the homologation of current engines, Renault is unable to enhance its power units, which puts anyone lagging behind in a somewhat unfair position.
Red Bull’s Horner believes that if the FIA can demonstrate an imbalance among the engines, it is fair to take action in order to ensure equal opportunities for all.
When asked about his opinion on the engine equalization situation, Horner expressed that it is important to identify the shortcomings. He believes that the FIA possesses all the necessary data and should provide a clear presentation of the disparities.
“I believe it would be intriguing for everyone to witness, and if there is a shortage during the approval process, then it’s a matter that we should approach with reason – otherwise, you’re committed for a two-year period. I would not be opposed to having a sensible conversation.”
Red Bull Racing RB19 detail
Photo by: Erik Junius
In previous years, Horner has advocated for equalization during the early turbo hybrid era. This was due to the Renault engine being less powerful compared to the Mercedes and Ferrari engines.
Szafnauer has welcomed Horner’s stance, especially because the engines were frozen from 2022 to 2025 as a means of helping Red Bull continue to use Honda engines in the wake of the Japanese manufacturer’s withdrawal from F1.
“I am pleased that Christian mentioned this because, upon reflection, the engines were immobilized due to Honda’s withdrawal and Red Bull lacked an engine division to sustain further development,” he clarified.
“We all agreed for the purpose of benefiting Red Bull, so it’s pleasing that Christian acknowledges that.”
“At the time of the agreement, there was also a mutual understanding among the manufacturers of engines that if any party experienced a decrease of 1%, there would be sincere discussions to restore equality.”
While F1’s power units have been frozen since the start of 2022, Szafnauer believes that the competitive picture has shifted since then as rivals have gained from making reliability upgrades.
“He stated that anyone has the permission to address their reliability concerns, and within these concerns, there may occasionally lie opportunities for power enhancements. The outcome is contingent upon the specific reliability issue being addressed.”
Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal, Alpine F1 Team
Photo by: James Sutton / Motorsport Images
In 2007, I have vivid memories of the time when we decided to freeze the V8s. During that period, I was the primary point of contact for Honda, receiving numerous requests from other teams. It was interesting to note that all the requests we received at that time were primarily focused on reducing costs and improving reliability.
“I would forward them to the appropriate engineers. However, there are many things that can be masked as reliability, resulting in an escalation of power.”