Alfa Romeo’s technical chief believes it will take “two or three years” before the impact of the new cost cap is fully felt in Formula 1.
Formula 1 is introducing a $145m budget cap this year, which will reduce to $135m by 2023, with the ambition of levelling the playing field between the teams.
Next year will feature the introduction of heavily revised technical regulations, delayed by 12 months due to the pandemic, tasked with producing closer competition and more exciting events.
Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari won every grand prix in the hybrid era until AlphaTauri’s shock win at Monza last September while the German marque has won seven straight titles.
Alfa Romeo has finished eighth across the last three seasons and ostensibly stands to benefit from a spending limit, but technical boss Jan Monchaux expects convergence to take time.
“I don’t think any effect of the budget cap on the teams’ competitiveness will be evident in 2021,” he said.
“The budget cap is only being introduced for this season, when the 2021 cars were already completed.
“There will be in-season development, of course, but with the regulations remaining stable from last year I don’t expect any overhaul beyond some minor changes in the pecking order.
“We will start to see some more impact from 2022, when all the teams will have the same budget ceiling to develop the car.
“I think this will result in the gaps in performance to be reduced, although the full effect of the new regulations will take a few years to become apparent.
“Large teams not only have the money and the people to give them an edge, but also a technological advantage they benefit from, and the effect of this will take a few years to fade.
“Also, we should not forget that the budget cap doesn’t cover the power unit, the heart of the car, which will still be a large differentiator and therefore an advantage for the best in the class.
“Overall, though, I am confident that within two or three years [the] gaps will be reduced.”
Alfa Romeo’s C41 is due to take to the track on Friday for a filming day at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.