- The new rules were supposed to be introduced in 2021 but were then delayed by 12 months due to the pandemic.
- James Allison, Mercedes Chief Technical Officer, describes the overhaul as the largest in Formula 1 in its three decades in the sport.
- The Mercedes W13, driven by Lewis Hamilton and new teammate George Russell, will be unveiled on February 18.
Formula 1 teams are in the final stages of preparing their new cars ahead of the long-awaited regulatory overhaul in 2022.
Shortly after Liberty Media acquired the championship in 2017, Formula 1 began work on fundamentally revised regulations tasked with producing more raceable cars and closing the field. The new rules were supposed to be introduced in 2021, but then delayed the pandemic by 12 months. But crunch time is coming soon.
James Allison, Mercedes Chief Technical Officer, describes the overhaul as the largest in Formula 1 in its three decades in the sport. And he suspects a few teams might stumble.
“We all did our best – everyone on our team and other teams – will have done their best to find a design and approach that fits this new rulebook,” Allison explained in a video released by the producer. “And we will all find that out together at the beginning of the season and in the subsequent races.
“I would imagine given that the cars are so new and so different that one or two cars on the grid are going to be really wrong and they’re going to have a terribly painful year.”
Allison also expects teams to see rivals’ new cars and realize some tricks may have been missed.
“I would imagine that to some extent we all left things on the table that we just didn’t anticipate,” he said. “We look at other cars and think, ‘Why didn’t we think of that?’ and we’re going to be scrambling around trying to get that idea onto our car asap so we can pick our way and scrape our way forward from whatever position we end up in this race, or if we do Lucky to be at the front, keep the attacking wolves behind us.”
Mercedes reportedly has the most to lose from a rewrite of the technical regulations. No team in Formula 1 history has enjoyed such sustained supremacy, having begun its sustained run of F1 Constructors’ Championships in 2014. But as it begins its quest for a record-extending ninth straight crown, Allison insists Mercedes relishes another opportunity to show off its engineering prowess.
“We just want to be up front – that goes for any team,” Allison said. “When regulations change on such a large scale as this, we approach it with all the fun and joy this challenge deserves. Our job is to look for technical possibilities and then use our combined mind and skills and all the efforts we make together to try to find a vehicle configuration that is better than everyone else’s approach.
“When everything is so new, there is opportunity everywhere in this ruleset, which is twice as thick as the old one. There are opportunities and of course risks as we try to make our way through the potential minefield and pick up all the little boxes of treasure that may lie between the land mines to end up with a car that we hope that we will see it before the trellis.”
The Mercedes W13, driven by Lewis Hamilton and new teammate George Russell, will be unveiled on February 18. He is also shaken off at Silverstone on the same day. The first time the world can get a glimpse of a real 2022 car is slated for February 10, when Aston Martin’s AMR22 launches.
The first race of the F1 season will take place in Bahrain on March 20th, with pre-season testing starting on February 23rd in Spain.
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