Despite the introduction of F1 completely new cars this season, Mercedes’ technical director Mike Elliott thinks that its 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 that incorporates aerodynamics of ground effect.
The change was initially planned for last season only for the pandemic to break destruction, which resulted in Formula 1 bosses deciding to drive the 2020 cars in last year’s championship.
After a delay of 12 months, the new era is almost upon us.
But while the new cars should produce less dirty air and allow for better races, do not expect them to be faster – or even much slower – than last year’s cars.
According to Mercedes’ Elliott, although the new cars are “heavier” and will run on more sustainable E10 fuel, Mercedes believes 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 [ones]”, he explained in the latest video from Mercedes.
“Obviously, the purpose of this regulation was to improve the collection, and it will be a while before we can see if that actually happened.
“The car is a bit heavier, the power unit on the E10 fuel will perform somewhat differently, and the way the aerodynamics work and the setup of the car that goes with it will also be different.
“Until we get the best out of it, until we’ve developed that through testing and the first few races, we will not really know.
“But overall, I think 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 in “rule-busting” – as Ross Brawn put it – all the holes with the new regulations, Elliott also expects the cars to be very similar.
“The new car looks completely different from last year and that’s just a consequence of the regulations – they have a very different shape,” Elliott said.
“The complexity we once had around the bargeboard area has disappeared 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 quite similar, have similar shapes and the differences will all be subtle changes in aerodynamic shapes and the surfaces, especially under the car.
“Probably the most visual of these will be how the floor works. The strokes on the front edge and the shape and the camber to the floor will make a difference and fully influence how the car works.