Mercedes says it fears Valtteri Bottas’ high-speed crash at Imola, as well as Lewis Hamilton’s minor prang, will hurt its progress amid the new cost cap rules in 2021.
Bottas’ W12 sustained substantial damage following his high-speed collision with Williams’ George Russell.
It marked Mercedes’ first accident-related retirement since Germany 2019.
Mercedes also suffered damage to Lewis Hamilton’s car when he went off at Tosa shortly before the Bottas/Russell collision.
This year is the first being run to Formula 1’s new financial regulations, with Mercedes among the big teams that are operating at the top end of the cap, giving little room for manoeuvrability.
“Our car is a write-off and in a cost-cap environment that is certainly not what we needed and it’s probably going to limit the upgrades that we are able to do,” said Mercedes boss Toto Wolff.
Discussing the added complications teams face in 2021, Mercedes’ trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin expanded on the situation.
“The new factor for us this year is we’re all cost capped and this sort of damage isn’t really in the plan,” he said.
“Our drivers have been incredibly good at getting through seasons without breaking much in recent years.
“And certainly, in terms of the bill, carbon work and metal work, [this] will be very extensive from that.
“We’ll go through and look at what we can actually salvage and get the cars back together for Portimao but it is a concern when you have these incidents.
“If you have a series of these kinds of large accidents that are doing significant damage, and this has been bad for us, because we had a front wing with Lewis as well, then that will definitely exceed our allocation for what we have available to spend on the car.
“In an ideal world you run the [parts] to life, you don’t break them, anything you do break is end of life or something that’s about to be obsolete – but that’s definitely not the case here.
“It a factor of the cost cap that the money has got to come from somewhere and ultimately if it becomes a big problem it can start to hit your development budget so we do need to be mindful of that going forward.”