The new budget cap regulations for the 2021 Formula 1 season will provide a “huge challenge” for Mercedes, according to Technical Director James Allison, given its prior use of resources.
From this season Formula 1’s 10 teams will run to a budget cap of $145m, albeit with some costs excluded, with external auditors enlisted to ensure no rules are broken.
It will be the first time that Financial Regulations have been utilised in Formula 1.
Mercedes has won seven successive titles and is among Formula 1’s biggest spenders and says adapting to the new regulations will mean new ways of working.
“2021 is a big year for the entire sport. It’s the first year of the new financial regulations, the so-called cost cap,” said Allison in a video produced by Mercedes.
“A set of regulations that forces the budgets of the big teams down to meet that of the midfield, and where we all basically have the same financial firepower to go about prosecuting the championship.
“And that has been a very interesting change here inside Mercedes, because we are one of the bigger teams in Formula 1 and so we had to figure out how we can operate our championship assault with far less financial resource than we might have had previously.
“This means figuring out how we can make components on our car to last longer, how to build them more cheaply and how to make sure we maintain the same sort of performance that we did previously, despite the fact that our overall budget has come down.
Allison also suggested that the reduced room for spending will affect the manner in which teams develop their cars through the course of the season, and reckons a strong start could count for more in 2021.
“It’s [the financial regulations] a huge challenge and building the car is only part of it,” added Allison.
“We then have to operate the car, develop the car, we have to do the entire season with all the uncertainties that we face in terms of how often it might crash, or how reliable components are and then need resources spent to fix that.
“Probably the biggest weapon we could possibly have to attack these new financial regulations in a good way would be to launch with a car that is fast from the beginning because a car that is fast from the beginning is going to be cheaper to stay quick during the whole season.
“So, let’s hope that we’ve put enough goodness into the car at the beginning of the year, to allow our plans to unfold in a way that sees us operating at a high level under this new constraint, where we are fighting with exactly the same guns as everybody else.”
Mercedes’ W12 is due to break cover during a virtual launch on March 2.