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Alpine Trails McLaren Williams in F1 Prep

Alpine’s F1 Mercedes Talks: Too Late for 2026?

06/07/2024

Alpine’s late discussions with Mercedes for F1 2026 may leave them trailing rivals Williams and McLaren.

Alpine F1 may well switch from Renault power units to become a Mercedes F1 client team from 2026 onwards.

It was an open secret, now confirmed by Toto Wolff in the Silverstone paddock: yes, discussions are underway between Alpine and Mercedes F1 for engine supply from 2026.

This Friday, Toto Wolff, the head of Mercedes, confirmed that his team was interested in powering Alpine and that preliminary exploratory discussions had already taken place.

“You know, it’s a complicated situation because we like the idea of replacing Aston Martin with another team—it would teach us a lot on our end. I think we’re organized in such a way that the more power units we utilise, the better it is in terms of speeding up certain developments or reliability. So, that’s where we are,” he stated.

Clearly, Toto Wolff is open to the idea of powering an additional team in 2026, alongside Williams and McLaren F1.

“The discussions have not gone beyond the exchange of opinions, you know, exploratory talks,” he added.

“I think Alpine will make a decision—if they want to continue with their engine programme in Formula 1 or not. And only when they’ve made this strategic decision will we delve into our agreements.”

“But we are open-minded, and that’s what we’ve told them.”

Bruno Famin of Alpine F1 remains tight-lipped

Meanwhile, on the side of Bruno Famin and Alpine F1, the communication line remains unchanged: tight-lipped. Nothing is denied, but nothing is confirmed—although the existence of negotiations is evidently a blow to the entire Viry factory.

“We simply do not comment on rumours.”

“We owe a lot of respect to everyone working on this project at Viry, and the worst thing would be to comment on the rumours.”

Brown Sees No Issue with Sharing Mercedes Engine with Alpine F1

Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren Racing, exhibits no hint of envy at the prospect of Mercedes powering another prominent client team.

“Not in the slightest,” the American states:

“What’s good for HPP [Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains] is good for McLaren as far as we are concerned.”

“They have been an exceptional partner to work with. So, if this adds value to their power unit proposition, then we are all for it.”

“As for the decision-making timeline, I think the sooner you can make a decision, the better it is for preparation.”

Is Alpine F1 Already Lagging?

Meanwhile, James Vowles, the head of Williams F1, finds himself in a challenging position. Indeed, should Alpine F1 opt for Mercedes power, it could make the team more appealing to Carlos Sainz… a driver currently in the sights of the Grove team!

But Vowles is determined to make the best of a difficult situation…

“The more engines in circulation, the more you learn.”

However, Vowles also warns Alpine F1: they are already pushing the limits of the timeline!

“But I think it’s fair to say… I’m not sure about the positions of McLaren and Mercedes, but from our perspective, we have been working with Mercedes HPP to get the right concept for 2026 for many months now.”

“So, whatever you do, you will be six to twelve months behind the other three teams. That’s quite a handicap overall.”

“That doesn’t mean it’s impossible, but there will be areas where you have to make compromises.”

“There’s a huge amount of work to adequately prepare for 2026, and even the slightest decision on the chassis can have a significant impact.”

Time is therefore pressing for Alpine F1 given the complexity of the decision, a point finally confirmed by Toto Wolff: “It’s far too complicated and a long-term decision—and with too significant an impact—for us to make on behalf of Alpine.”

Alpine Trails McLaren Williams in F1 Prep

Alpine’s F1 Discussions with Mercedes: A Late Start for 2026? Alpine’s F1 Discussions with Mercedes: A Late Start for 2026?

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