New F1 rules presenting ‘landmines’ for Mercedes ahead of 2022 season

·3-min read
Mercedes fear several teams are set for tough seasons after significant offseason rule changes  (AFP via Getty Images)
Mercedes fear several teams are set for tough seasons after significant offseason rule changes (AFP via Getty Images)

Mercedes technical director James Allison has predicted that some Formula 1 teams will have “painful seasons” as they struggle to adapt to overhauled regulations.

In a bid for more competitive and exciting racing, F1 have revamped car and aerodynamic rules ahead of the 2022 season.

Teams have been forced to entirely redesign their vehicles, with the scale of the changes required leaving Allison fearing that some constructors may have got their preparation “badly wrong”.

“The ruleset is not only enormous - the regulations are about twice the size of what’s preceded them - but they’re all almost entirely different from what came before them,” Allison explained in advance of the 2022 season.

“That has meant we’ve had to redesign the car from tip to toe, everywhere you look it’s completely new.

“When everything is as new as this, then everywhere you look in that regulation set - twice as thick as the old one - there is opportunity and, of course, there’s jeopardy.

“So we try to pick our way through the potential minefield, picking up all the little boxes of treasure that may be set in amongst the landmines to end up with a car we hope will see us pitching up at the front of the grid.

“I would imagine, given that the cars are so new and so different, that one or two cars on the grid will have got it really badly wrong, and they will have a terribly painful year.”

Mercedes had won the previous seven Drivers’ Championships before Max Verstappen beat Lewis Hamilton at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to claim his maiden world title under a cloud of controversy.

The German team did add an eighth consecutive Constructors’ Championship, a period of unprecedented success since the last major changes to car design in 2014.

Allison recognises that a similarly sizeable shift ahead of the 2022 season may offer an opportunity for Mercedes to again prove themselves.

It’s not unique to Mercedes to be excited about the regulation set but it is something I can speak of with personal experience that we do love it when new regulations come along,” he continued.

“We see it as an opportunity that we haven’t just been lucky over the years, we haven’t merely stumbled into a formula and a God-given right to be dominant all these last seasons.

“We see every single regulation change as an opportunity to pit our wits against them and see whether we deserve to be competitive against them, to see whether or not we can show afresh that we’ve understood the physics behind the car, that we’ve just tried to translate that into designs and concepts, realising in manufacturing, and then deliver to the track in a way that allows us to be competitive once more.”

After the departure of Valtteri Bottas, Hamilton is set to be joined on the grid by a new teammate in compatriot George Russell at Mercedes in 2022.

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