Mercedes expect 2021 performance parity in new cars

Michelle Foster
A rear view of the 2022 Formula 1 car with Pirelli tyres. F1 Silverstone July 2020.

A sideways angle of the prototype of the new 2022 Formula 1 car on show at Silverstone. July 2021.

Despite F1 introducing all-new cars this season, Mercedes’ technical director Mike Elliott believes their performance will be “relatively similar” to last year’s models.

This year’s championship marked the beginning of a new era for Formula 1, the sport embracing ground-effect aerodynamics.

The change was initially scheduled for last season only for the pandemic to wreck havoc, resulting in Formula 1’s bosses deciding to run the 2020 cars in last year’s championship.

After a 12-month delay, the new era is almost upon us.

But while the new cars should create less dirty air and allow for better racing, do not expect them to be any faster – or even much slower – than last year’s cars.

According to Mercedes’ Elliott, although the new cars are “heavier” and will be running more sustainable E10 fuel, Mercedes believe the performance will be “relatively similar” to last year.

“The overall performance of the new cars will probably not be very different from the old [ones],” he explained in Mercedes’ latest video.

“Obviously the intention of these regulations was to try and improve overtaking, and it will be a little bit of time before we can see whether that’s actually happened.

Our first look at a model of the new Formula 1 car to be in use from 2022. Silverstone, July 2021.

“The car is a bit heavier, the power unit on the E10 fuel will perform slightly differently, and the way the aerodynamics work and the set-up of the car that goes with it will be different as well.

“Until we get the best out of that, until we’ve developed that through testing and the first few races, we won’t really know.

“But overall, I suspect the performance will be relatively similar to last year.”

But that is not the only thing that will be similar.

With Formula 1 taking steps at “rule-busting” – as Ross Brawn put it – any loopholes with the new regulations, Elliott is also expecting the cars to be very similar.

“The new car looks completely different to last year’s and that is just a consequence of the regulations – they are very much a different shape,” said Elliott.

“The complexity we used to have around the barge-board area has gone and the differences between the cars will be more in the surface shapes.

“As a result, I think all of this year’s cars will look fairly similar, have similar shapes and the differences will all be subtle changes in aerodynamic shapes and the surfaces particularly under the car.


“Probably the most visual of that will be how the floor works. The strakes at the leading edge and the shape and camber to the floor will make a difference and completely affect how the car works.”


PlanetF1 Verdict


Mercedes believe new cars will have similar performance to last year's

Mike Elliott believes the new cars will be "relatively similar" to last year's models.