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The potential pitfalls Mercedes is working to counter in 2021

The 2021 breed of F1 car may be based on the 2020 machines, but that doesn't mean to say Mercedes will have it all its own way this year. The team has acknowledged the items that could trip it up and is working to ensure these factors are minimised

The 2020-21 Formula 1 off-season has been like no other in the championship's recent history. After pulling off the remarkable feat of holding 17 races during unprecedented global disruption in our modern, hyper-connected world, attentions quickly turned to what comes next. But the way F1 teams have been preparing for the 2021 campaign, since well before the 2020 season came to a flat finish in Abu Dhabi, is rather unusual.

The main difference is that, in the wake of the agreement between the teams, F1 and the FIA from during the initial COVID-19 lockdowns, the 2020 car designs will be largely carried over into this season. There were subsequent tweaks to the arrangement, significantly involving changes to the car floors to reduce downforce levels by 10%, and a token system allowing some limited development, but the thrust remains essentially the same. The teams will be heavily relying on the work they did producing their 2020 challengers - and many of the mechanical parts these contained - for another year.

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