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Renault-Alpine's 2026 engine development in doubt

Renault-Alpine's 2026 engine development in doubt
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Luca de Meo, the CEO of Renault, stressed the importance for the Alpine team to "get things right" for the upcoming 2026 regulations.

Luca de Meo, the CEO of Renault, stressed the importance for the Alpine team to "get things right" for the upcoming 2026 regulations.

He spoke just prior to the emergence of speculation that suggests the Enstone-based squad might drop its engine development plans for 2026 at Viry-Chatillon.

De Meo candidly acknowledged that Renault's previous major engine initiative was botched.

"When we began the hybrid era, our engine didn't perform," he stated in an interview with Autocar, recalling the 2014 challenges. "We had been world champions with Red Bull but with hybrid, things went wrong. Even the engine we developed in 2021 had a 0.2 to 0.5 second disadvantage every lap," de Meo continued. "And this year we've screwed up with the car.

"If you combine everything, we're up to 1.5 seconds from where we need to be."

The speculation is that Renault might ultimately decide to scrap its 2026 engine project, potentially seeking engines from other F1 manufacturers instead.

An early frontrunner for the role could be a reunion with Red Bull through their new Red Bull Powertrains-Ford project, while Mercedes might be another option, given Aston Martin's impending switch to Honda power starting in 2026.

"For this year and 2025, we will try with the current setup, then push to get things right for the next cycle. That's the challenge," de Meo clarified.

"But we will do everything necessary to be a competitive team."

Reports from both France's Auto Hebdo and Switzerland's Blick suggest that Valtteri Bottas could be considered to replace Esteban Ocon at Alpine next year.

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