Toto Wolff says revealing every aspect of the Mercedes W12 at its launch would have given competitors too much time to try and copy.
When they unveiled their 2021 challenger, the German team kept the floor of the car largely hidden, not showing the details of it.
Technical director James Allison stated it was done so as not to give anything away to rival teams and Wolff has now elaborated on that, stating that otherwise the concepts could be copied in time for the early season.
“Of course we have hidden a new super trick there, otherwise we would have shown it. You will all be amazed when you see it,” joked Wolff, quoted by the Dutch edition of motorsport.com before more seriously saying:
“There are 10 days between our presentation and the first day of testing. If we show everything now, we give the competition extra options.
“They can then look at things, evaluate them and maybe even calculate them with CFD models. This would allow them to come onto the track at the first, second or maybe third race with a similar update.
“The 10-day period between our presentation and the test is just too big. We cannot afford to show everything so early.”
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) March 2, 2021
With the major regulation changes being pushed back to 2022, teams have been far more limited with how many modifications they can make to their cars for the forthcoming campaign and the pecking order is therefore expected to remain largely unaltered.
While there have been some changes in the aerodynamics department, Wolff says that because of the stable regulations the key this season is to find the smallest of gains.
“If you have completely new technical regulations, then everyone starts with a blank sheet of paper,” the Austrian explained.
“Then there’s a good chance that one team will score points with innovations that another team has overlooked. But in a year like this, when it’s an evolution of the existing regulations, it’s much more about the marginal gains.
“Those marginal gains are becoming a lot more important, even though they have chopped part of the floor and the consequences in terms of downforce are quite drastic.
“But you’re not talking about tenths anymore, but about hundredths that make the difference. That is very interesting. The search for marginal gains can be just as interesting as the search for big gains.”