Mercedes are already investing time and money into their 2022 car before unveiling their challenger for the upcoming season.
That is according to their technical director James Allison, who called the incoming regulations a “complete revolution”.
The all-new rule changes were set to enter Formula 1 ahead of the 2021 season but, given the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, it was unanimously agreed they would be put back a year.
With those changes delayed and the introduction of this season’s development tokens, the making of this year’s cars has arguably been a simpler task than usual, both in a monetary sense and production-wise.
But 2022 brings a different challenge altogether, mainly centred around the aerodynamic changes as Formula 1 returns to ground-effect cars.
“The season hasn’t even begun yet, no car is even launched, no-one has turned a wheel and yet we’re already starting to think very seriously about 2022,” Allison told the Mercedes website.
“Next year brings a complete revolution in the technical regulations of the car. The sort of things we have seen racing for the last few seasons will be dead and gone at the end of this year, replaced instead by a new generation of car which has a completely different technical objective – to try and make the racing closer, by making the lead car damage the performance of the trailing car less.
Morning Team. 👋 Another day closer to being able to show you the W12! pic.twitter.com/mODv5X0kyl
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) February 17, 2021
“This change is so large and the cars so different that we will have to spend a large part of our technical resource during 2021 in order to make sure we are ready, with a good car that can then see us in decent shape for the years that follow in 2022 and beyond.
“So we are busy doing that, in a world where we are cost-capped, where we haven’t yet started racing in 2021 and where we have to manage our total resource so we can have an effective campaign in 2021, while also building for the future and this exciting new set of 2022 regulations.”
The cost cap put into play for this year has been a barrier to which Mercedes, and the other constructors especially towards the top of the grid, have had to adjust given changes had to be made to their existing structure.
Mercedes, with Sir Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, are again expected to dominate in 2021, but the following campaign starts a new era of Formula 1.