Mercedes faces "tricky" decision over 2021 vs 2022 development split

Mercedes admits it will face some ‘tricky decisions' over the next few weeks about when to switch off development of its 2021 Formula 1 car to focus on next year.

Mercedes faces "tricky" decision over 2021 vs 2022 development split

F1 is bracing itself for a rules revolution in 2022, with the sport switching to all-new ground effect cars that it hopes will improve the racing.

The extent of the changes for next season means teams cannot afford to fall behind in early development.

That is because the biggest performance steps will be found during the initial work on the 2022 designs – and catching up with rivals if you start late will be very hard.

However, there is a juggling act to be played as teams also need to balance out the need to not totally sacrifice the current campaign if they are battling for good positions.

The cars of Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, 1st position, and Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12, 3rd position, in Parc Ferme

The cars of Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, 1st position, and Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12, 3rd position, in Parc Ferme

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

World champion Mercedes faces a particularly difficult situation because it looks to be locked in a tight fight with Red Bull for this year’s championship, so knows that any early move to shut down work on its current car could cost it a shot at the title.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has admitted that there is no obvious answer about when is best to focus everything on 2022, but he thinks all teams will face similar trouble.

“It's going to be the same for all teams to balance resource that is going into the 2021 car and power unit, and the 2022 one,” Wolff told Autosport.

“It's clear that you can't afford to not perform in ‘21. But equally, the ‘22 regulations are going to be in place for quite some years. Once you start with a deficit, it's very difficult to catch up. So it will take a while for performance to converge.

“In that respect, these are tricky decisions that we are evaluating regularly.”

Read Also:

Although Mercedes won the F1 season opener in Bahrain, the team concedes that rival Red Bull appears to have the fastest car right now.

Wolff says that the feeling his team has at the moment is not the same as recent years, where it has always been confident in having a strong package.

“It does feel different,” he said. “The regulation changes that were introduced last year, we just probably had more deficit to compensate. So when we put the cars on the road, that was pretty clear. But it is what it is, and now we have just got to do the job to the best of our abilities.”

shares
comments

Related video

Brown: F1 must accept Netflix's artistic licence with Drive to Survive
Previous article

Brown: F1 must accept Netflix's artistic licence with Drive to Survive

Next article

Alpine: Bahrain GP exposed weaknesses with F1 car

Alpine: Bahrain GP exposed weaknesses with F1 car
Load comments
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Plus

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. JAMES NEWBOLD hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwarts

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Plus

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Plus

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022
The steps Norris took to reach a new level in F1 2021 Plus

The steps Norris took to reach a new level in F1 2021

Lando Norris came of age as a grand prix driver in 2021. McLaren’s young ace is no longer an apprentice or a quietly capable number two – he’s proved himself a potential winner in the top flight and, as STUART CODLING finds out, he’s ready to stake his claim to greatness…

Formula 1
Jan 9, 2022
The original F1 maestro who set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton Plus

The original F1 maestro who set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton

Juan Manuel Fangio, peerless on track and charming off it, established the gold standard of grand prix greatness. NIGEL ROEBUCK recalls a remarkable champion

Formula 1
Jan 8, 2022
How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam Plus

How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam

George Russell joining Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes this year gives it arguably the best line-up in Formula 1 – if it can avoid too many fireworks. After serving his apprenticeship at Williams, Russell is the man that Mercedes team believes can lead it in the post-Hamilton era, but how will he fare against the seven-time champion? Autosport heard from the man himself

Formula 1
Jan 6, 2022
How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications Plus

How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications

OPINION: The Formula 1 season just gone was the second to be completed under the dreaded shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, but in many ways it was much more ‘normal’ than 2020. Here’s the story of how the championship’s various organisers delivered a second challenging campaign, which offers a glimpse at what may be different next time around

Formula 1
Jan 5, 2022
The adapt or die mentality that will shape F1's future Plus

The adapt or die mentality that will shape F1's future

As attitudes towards the motor car and what powers it change, Formula 1 must adapt its offering. MARK GALLAGHER ponders the end of fossil fuels

Formula 1
Jan 3, 2022