The 2021 season of Formula 1 brings with it a new team, new drivers and promises to be one of the best seasons of recent times, with Lewis Hamilton gunning for an 8th title that would break Michael Schumacher’s World record.
Despite all these changes, the biggest change of them all comes in the form of a cost cap, which has been enforced to bridge the gap between smaller and bigger teams. Consecutive champions Mercedes explain how they are dealing with this new cost cap.
For those of you wondering about what this cap is all about, it was agreed to back in October of 2019, which limited the amount of money teams could spend. The cap was originally set to $175 million but was lowered to $145 million after a global pandemic. This season has a cap of $147.4 million since there are 23 races for this season.
What Do Mercedes Have To Say About The Cost Cap
Speaking about these regulations, the technical director of Mercedes, James Allison explained how Mercedes, a team running on larger budgets are dealing with this reduced cost, whilst maintaining a performance advantage.
“Probably the biggest weapon we could possibly have to attack these new financial regulations in a good way would be to launch with a car that is fast from the beginning because a car that is fast from the beginning is going to be cheaper to [keep] quick during the whole season,” said Allison, speaking in an interview on Mercedes’ official YouTube channel.
“So let’s hope that we’ve put enough goodness into the car at the beginning of the year, to allow our plans to unfold in a way that sees us operating at a high level under this new constraint, where we are fighting with exactly the same guns as everybody else.”
“This [approach] means figuring out how we can make components on our car to last longer, how to build them more cheaply and how to make sure we maintain the same sort of performance that we did previously, despite the fact that our overall budget has come down,”
“It’s a huge challenge and building the car is only part of it. We then have to operate the car, develop the car, we have to do the entire season with all the uncertainties that we face in terms of how often it might crash, or how reliable components are and then need resources spent to fix that,” he said.
To add to all these changes, aerodynamic changes are also a part of the changes for this season, with teams having to change their car floors and rear brake duct arrangements. Allison stated that the team has spent time adapting to these changes.
“Much of our focus over the last weeks and months has been trying to understand what the effect of those changes are on the main flow fields around the car and how to try to find back the performance that is lost when you first adopt those new regulations,” he added.