Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2019

Wolff: keep regulations stable to strip Mercedes advantage

2019 F1 Season

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Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff has said that he believes the only way performance can be equalised is by keeping regulations the same, with any changes likely to advantage already-dominant teams.

Speaking at the Canadian Grand Prix, ahead of 2021 regulation discussions this week, Wolff said that past tendencies to change regulations were more likely to maintain a performance gap than if the rules were kept the same.

“The default reaction in the past, when a team or big teams were running away with championships has been to change the regulations. Because you believe that by changing the regulations others may catch up.

“And I think that exactly the opposite is the case; if you leave the regulations alone – which is counter-intuitive – eventually performance converges.”

He argued that the power unit regulations, which have remained largely stable since the beginning of the hybrid era, showed that manufacturers initially at a significant disadvantage could move forward and that the same would be true for chassis design.

“You can see that in the power unit regulations that have been stable for awhile and I think that if we leave the chassis regulations alone then eventually more teams will be closer together.”

He said that teams were asking for changes that, in the modern era, were shown to actually increase the gap between frontrunners and other teams.

“As in the past, teams lobby for change because they believe rolling the dice can be an advantage for them.

“When you look at the ‘19 regulations and the ‘18 regulations actually none of that has happened – the teams that were at the front can increase the gaps they had so we are back to square one and we are making that mistake over and over again.”

However, Wolff said that it was difficult for Mercedes, as the currently-dominant team, to credibly argue that they were not looking out for their own interests in keeping regulations

“It is very difficult, from our position, to be credible and to be heard because people think that we want to keep the rules as they are in order to maintain our advantage. Whilst the opposite is actually the case – leave it alone and performance will converge.”

Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...

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63 comments on “Wolff: keep regulations stable to strip Mercedes advantage”

  1. Yes, nothing changed when regulations changed in 2014, 2005, 1998.
    Cut me a break

    1. 2009 Brawn (now Mercedes)
      2014 Mercedes
      2017 Mercedes
      2019 Mercedes

      You don’t have to be a data scientist to spot a trend

      1. What did Mercedes do from 2010-13, after Brawn’s early advantage in development disappeared?

        1. Invested in rebuilding the team that had lost most of its staff due to the Honda withdrawal with a focus on the 2014 rule changes

        2. The Honda withdrawal left the Brackley team severely understaffed and unable to seriously develop for the remainder of that rule era, Mercedes bought them with a view to focus on the upcoming new rules and didn’t make a series title challenge for the 2010-2013 period

          But in their current rebuilt state they have proved over and over again to be the masters of rule overhauls

        3. 2010

          3 podiums from Rosberg

          2011

          Washout

          2012

          1 win (Rosberg)
          Fastest car at China and Monaco
          2 Poles at above (Rosberg, Schumacher)
          2 fastest laps (Rosberg, Schumacher)
          3 podiums 2-1 Rosberg

          2013

          3 wins 2-1 Rosberg
          9 podiums 5-4 Rosberg
          8 poles 8-3 Hamilton

      2. Practically almost every time there was a long dominant period by one team, it was ultimately ended by a rule change.

        The banned ground effect to stop Lotus. They banned active suspension to stop Williams. And had to change the tyre rules in 2005 to stop Ferrari dominating. The 2014 rule changes stopped Red Bull.

        This works if a team has a clear advantage or weakness in an area. But obviously if you are the best in all areas, then whatever happens to the rules, this team will be winning. Nothing new there.

        1. @vjanik They didn’t ban ground effects to stop Lotus, Lotus were already struggling by that point.

          They banned ground effects because it was felt cornering speeds were getting out of control & drivers were raising concerns about safety as well as the fact a lot of them hating driving those cars.

          Indycar banned ground effects at the same time for the same reasons.

        2. The 2014 rules that you claim stopped rbr dominance, were established in 2011 or before which was before rbr dominance even begain. You are seeing a correlation that does not exist.

          Please use more logic.

          1. The 2014 rules that you claim stopped rbr dominance, were established in 2011 or before which was before rbr dominance even begain. You are seeing a correlation that does not exist.

            @roger-ayles said they stopped RBR .. not that they were designed to stop RBR

            Please use more logic

        3. @vjanik, as @roger-ayles rightly notes, the comparison with Lotus and the ground effect era is pretty flawed – Lotus might have won in 1978 simply because they got there first, but they went backwards at a vast rate of knots between 1979 and 1982 before the rules were changed to make the cars safer.

          Between 1979 and 1982, Lotus won only one race out of the 60 that took place in that period of time, and they didn’t even finish in the top 3 in the WCC in those years. If anything, they were generally more competitive after ground effect cars were phased out, because most of Lotus’s ground effect cars were actually fairly poor – even the 79, which took Lotus to the WDC and WCC titles, was actually not that great (I believe Andretti pointed out that the torsional stiffness of the 79 was fairly bad when compared to its contemporaries), and mainly relied on its downforce to smother over the problems with its design – hence why they fell behind so quickly when everybody else realised what they were doing.

          It should also be noted that, whilst the tyre rule changes did have the effect of ending Ferrari’s dominance, that was more by accident than design. The tyre rule change was basically a stop-gap solution that the FIA came up with for 2005 whilst the smaller capacity V8 engines were under development for 2006.

          The main objective was to slow the cars down from where they were in 2004 – it did result in Ferrari slipping back, but the big shake up in the running order was supposed to occur in 2006 with the change to the V8 engines: the fact that 2005 saw such a large shake up wasn’t really expected.

    2. Exactly.

      2013 was Red Bull’s most dominant season, after the summer break Vettel won every race. Regulations were changed in 2014. It ended RB dominance but Mercedes took over.

      2016 saw Mercedes score more points than in any other season, although taking into account 2 more races than 2015, and it’s about the same. The gap to second remained about the same. The level of dominance dropped in 2017 (regulation change) and has been roughly stable until this year, where so far they have become more dominant again.

      It seems dominance is determined by what is in the regulations, not how often they change them.

      1. The 2014 regulation changes were put in place in 2011 or earlier, before rbr began their dominant run. RBR were dominant in 2013 because everyone was focused on 2014. McLaren was dominant in 88 because everyone was focused on 89.

        You are looking at everything backwards and upside down

        1. You’re right. It was some sort of karma because Renault was 1 of the teams who pushed for the current engine regs, yet they failed big time. I could be wrong, but I think they agreed even for a 4-cylinder engine.

          1. I could be wrong, but I think they agreed even for a 4-cylinder engine.

            @mg1982 – I too recall the same. IIRC, Renault wanted inline 4-cyls as that better aligned with their road car powertrains, whereas Ferrari wanted a V6 at a minimum as their expertise lay in sportscars using V-layouts. I’m not sure where Mercedes’ opinion fell in this discussion.

          2. Everyone consulted decided that a 4 cylinder was the best solution, until ferrari at the last moment claimed that they would not agree unless a v6 was implemented. This changed the implementation of the PU’S from 2013 as originally planned to 2014.

          3. @megatron, Adrian Newey is on record as saying that they only went for a four cylinder design in the first place because VW had indicated Audi would enter F1 if they went with a four cylinder engine – at the time, the VW Group was part of the technical committee that drew up the current regulations. However, when VW withdrew from that committee, much of the support for a four cylinder engine design disappeared with them.

            To quote Adrian Newey:
            “The initial decision from the engine working group was for a four-cylinder turbo to be introduced for 2013. The big driver behind that was Audi. They said they would come into the sport if there was a four-cylinder turbo, and that’s what everyone agreed in order to get Audi in. They subsequently decided that they won’t bother after all, thank you very much, and we were lumbered with a four-cylinder turbo.”

            The four cylinder design was proposed mainly for political reasons, as on technical grounds most of the chassis designers were pushing for a V-configuration behind the scenes due to the superior torsional stiffness of the engine block.
            If you look at Formula 3, which did use an inline four cylinder engine at the time, most cars had to use a secondary spaceframe to support some of the loads being applied to the cars because the engine block lacked torsional stiffness – a point that Newey also emphasised:
            “You can then get into the politics of the whole thing. Certainly from an engineering point of view a four-cylinder turbo is not a nice engine to install, you’ve basically got to put a spaceframe around it, you can’t make it a properly structural. A racing V6 is a much nicer engine to package. That will now be the 2014 engine.”
            https://www.auto123.com/en/news/f1-audi-pushed-for-the-four-cylinder-engines/36824/

            Overall, the four cylinder concept was the most politically acceptable solution, but on technical grounds there were quite a few designers who were actively lobbying for a V configuration to be adopted instead – so the switch to the current V6 engines was driven in part by figures such as Newey.

        2. @megatron I’m really not and the stats speak for themselves.

          Although it’s true RB 2013 dominance was helped by everybody else focusing on 2014, they still turned up with the best package that year, as they did every year from 2010 to 2013 (although McLaren were faster in 2012, unreliability counts too), and as Mercedes have done every year from 2014.

          This shows that dominance is determined by what is in the regulations.

  2. I’ve had the opinion stable rules are needed for a long time. They keep having big reactionary rule changes and Mercedes are the team that come out on top going as far back as 2009 when they were Brawn.

    You want the teams to converge on performance leave them to plateau on a current rule set with possibly incremental tweaks rather than revolutionary new rule sets and design philosophies otherwise I can’t see how Mercedes will be defeated.

    1. The expenditure disparity between the teams will stay the same, and the gains in lap time will become smaller and more expensive. Only the top spenders would then find reasons to allocate the resources to the diminishing returns.

      1. They will probably never break the fact that budget equals results

        But we have Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull, Renault, and maybe McLaren with the potential to fight for championships. The rule changes just keep playing to Mercedes strengths though

    2. @philipgb I agree. I think Wolff’s warning should be put in a time capsule for if and when they decide on big changes and Mercedes appear at the top again, with a much bigger advantage. Obviously it will be taken now as a plea to retain Mercedes dominance. But we’ve seen Ferrari have overtaken Mercedes power. Honda and Renault could also catch up fast in the next year or two. Then it’s down to chassis and aero. Mercedes are ahead this year because they cracked the latter (new regulations!). And people want to give them more of the same opportunity to exploit their considerable F1 resources and winning experience.

    3. @philipgb

      First of all, Brawn and Mercedes were two different realities. The team that did interpret the rules the best in 2009 were RBR.
      The RB5 was a masterpiece that featured many innovations (rear pull rod suspensions,sidepods, front wing….) that served as a baseline for Red Bull domination
      in the next 4 years. It was only lacking the double diffuser but once they have integrated it as of Monaco (if I’m not wrong)and before any other team on the
      grid that didn’t have it from the start the car was clearly the fastest car.

      In 2014 Mercedes and unlike Newey and RBR didn’t interpret the regulations better than anyone else. The 2014 engine regulations were in fact made at Mercedes like . You would argue that all the other team principles did in fact participate in the regulations meeting with the FIA, however Ross Brawn input to his former
      Boss and friend Jean Todt was decisive. Mercedes has already a prototype PU before even the regulations were finalized.

      In 2017, it was Ferrari that benefited the most from the regulations and set the trend with their novel sidepods design and closed the gap to Mercedes and eventually become title challenger.

      In 2019, it seems that Mercedes got it right but Ferrari are not that bad (performance wise) as some tries to imply. They are clearly better than Mercedes in the PU department. However, it’s Mercedes team that are firing on all cylinders like Hamilton said, operations, strategy, performance, drivers… but that’s another story and it’s not related to main subject : capitalizing on the rules change

      1. Lies and conspiracy theories, please stop

      2. @tifoso1989, why do you try and claim that “The 2014 engine regulations were in fact made at Mercedes” when we know that it was in fact Renault that put forward the original technical paper that contained the basis of the current regulations in 2007?

        Much of the current rule set came from that original paper, with the final regulations then established in a series of technical forums that involved a wide range of representatives from across the motorsport industry – part of the reason why a number of publications were able to predict that Honda would join F1 is because they were known to be taking part in those technical forums.

        As for the assertion that “Mercedes has already a prototype PU before even the regulations were finalized.”, I think that you have rather misunderstood what was going on. I suspect that you have confused a single cylinder test with having a complete prototype – all of the teams were conducting single cylinder tests at the time, since that is an integral first step for developing an engine, but that is some way short of having a full prototype ready.

        1. @anon
          I know already that Renault was the driving force behind the new regulations and as you have explained thoroughly in a previous post about VW/Audi
          interest in joining when the initial regulations draft was about a 4 cylinders engine. The 2014 rules were some kind of compromise between all the teams. However and as I said, Ross Brawn input was decisive and that’s where the Mercedes advantage came from. It’s not about who interprets the rules the best in this case, it’s about working on fundamental principles way earlier than the competition.

      3. @tifoso1989
        I think Ferrari’s PU isnt much better (if any) than Mercedes’. The main difference comes from the amount of downforce they produce, Ferrari going for less drag and Mercedes going for more downforce (quite similar to RBR in previous seasons). This results in Ferrari being faster at tracks like Azerbaijan/Canada but Mercedes excelling at tracks like Barcelona/Monaco. The reason why Mercedes is still fairly competitive on top speed is due to the power of their PU.

      4. Of course Mercedes was against engine change regulations in 2021. Developing a PU without a head start would ruin them.

  3. I think he’s right to a degree.

    Every big-ish rules change that I recall been introduced over the past 30 years that i’ve been following F1 has tended to spread the field out with 1 team always starting out with an advantage.

    Whenever regulations have remained fairly stable performance has always started to converge & we have often tended to see the closest title fights & more competitive field towards the end of a period of relative rules stability.

    There are things that could & perhaps should be done for 2021 but I do think they need to be careful because I think that it’s very likely that with a big/total overhaul we will see somebody start out 2021 with the field more spread out with a team having an advantage & I doubt it’s going to be anyone other than one of the current top 3.

  4. I agree with Toto, stability invariably leads to convergence. Of course, this is also true for such minor details as tyre construction, compounds, and tread depth.

    And because no one is guaranteed not to get something horribly wrong, this also means that rules limiting development (like the early PUs points system) only serve to protect those already ahead and need to not be introduced again, through the guise of supposed cost saving.

  5. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    13th June 2019, 14:27

    Toto ‘crying’ Wolff would suggest keeping them, wouldn’t he?

    I don’t see keeping these rules as they are would be a good thing. Any forward movement from a team behind would be countered by forward movement from the team ahead, so any advantage gained would be incrementally tiny and not worth the expenditure to achieve it. Due to the financial disparity between the front and rear teams any form of ‘convergence’ – if it happened at all, would take a long, long time by which time Mercedes would have danced off with another five titles. Which would be good for Toto wouldn’t it!

    If he wants stable rules that allow convergence – which is achievable, then the financial disparity of the teams needs to be addressed and the rules do need a simplyfing overhaul – which would mean regulation changes anyway…

  6. “And I think that exactly the opposite is the case; if you leave the regulations alone – which is counter-intuitive – eventually performance converges.”

    Performance will never converge for as long as the sport’s’ regulations harbour positive feedback loops. By definition these loops are designed to ensure the exact opposite of convergence, no matter how long the regulations are left untouched.

  7. Years ago when Eddie Jordan was asked why his team were able to close the gap and challenge for wins he sited stability in the rules. So there must be something to it.
    I look at it this way, if a professor writes an equation on the board and says solve it, the super smart kids will solve it first while the other kids continue to work on it. Now imagine the professor puts an equation on the board and says solve it, and after enough time passes for only the super smart kids to solve it, the professor modifies the equation and says solve this too. The super smart kids will immediately move on to the revised equation while the other kids still work on the first one. If this trend continues, only the super smart kids will be working on the current problem while the other kids will be some number of revisions behind.
    This is what I think is happening in F1, where the super smart kids are Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull and the rest of the field are the other kids. Given enough time the other teams will figure things out and close the gap to the big teams, but if the rules keep changing they’ll never close the gap.

  8. Problem is, organic performance convergence from stable regs is happening too slowly… Heavily resourced teams will almost always have an advantage in developmental wars…

  9. There’s some truth in what he’s saying, no doubt. Because everything is relative. Don’t know, but I think these days closing the gap even tho the rules are stable might be harder because of the lack of testing. Yet again, I could be wrong, Mercedes could have ended up 1st either way. That’s because I think they returned to F1 to win and were/are willing to pay whatever it takes to get in P1 and stay there as long as possible. Then, we all know they ramped up more kms in testing than any other team since 2013. Probably really helped.

  10. I think F1 should take a look at how motogp are moving. Small/medium changes very few years, especially if there’s some team dominance going on.

    That rule change about electronic controls (not sure on the details) really leveled the field in the past couple of seasons.

    1. When I used to enjoy MotoGp the biggest factor was the the riders were on their own when the race started. No rider > pit > computer comms.
      Very few people seem to mention this. And it seems very few F1 fans would be happy with radio silence for ‘The Show’

      https://www.motorsportmagazine.com/opinion/motogp/will-motogp-go-radio-gaga

      “I am against radios in MotoGP for various reasons. Riders spend hours and hours throughout each weekend conferring with armies of engineers, technicians and advisors; so what makes the race so compelling is that the moment the lights go out the riders are totally alone and 100 per cent masters of their own destinies. This is the moment of release to which they’ve all been looking forward: finally, it’s all down to them. The endless debriefs and discussions about strategies, tyre choice and settings are done, the rider is at last where he really wants to be: alone on his motorcycle, just him against the world.”

      1. I’ve stated several times that I’d like to see an end to pit to car radio communication in F1 for the same reason. In MotoGP the riders have to make their own decisions and that includes things like changes to engine mapping for those who are going to argue that F1 is more complicated.

        1. Magnus Rubensson (@)
          13th June 2019, 17:10

          +1 Totally agree with this.

    2. Although cars and bikes are not directly comparable, MotoGP introduced many rules F1 fans on here would hate, including customer bikes and performance handicaps. And there’s four Spanish races every year. People on here love to rave about how MotoGP does things but I stopped enjoying it a long time ago.

      And how is it going for them? Márquez/Honda have won five out the last six championships. Slightly better than Mercedes’ five out of five.

      1. That said, I would love to see team radio banned, or perhaps pit to car only allowing the driver to give feedback to the wall.

  11. How about banning the computers and software that instruct the drivers what to do and when? (via the race engineers over the radio)
    Hamilton often disagrees with his tire instructions and has to ask permission to use Merc’s superior engine modes.
    Let the drivers do what they want, when they want.

    1. I agree. And ban throttle mapping too.

      1. You have no idea what you are talking about

        1. @megatron Haha, rich coming from the person who thinks “the 2014 regs were designed in 2011” makes any difference. Throttle mapping in the modern sense is basically a substitute for traction control, makes the car more responsive and easier to drive. Get rid of advanced throttle mapping and you have a beast.

          1. Go read the throttle mapping regulations

  12. He’s right, with stability comes convergence. And convergence is good for Mercedes: they just need to be 0.01″ quicker to win on track. The fact is that big changes in rules may lead to big changes in charts, and that’s something Mercedes doesn’t want. Even if Mercedes doesn’t win with current set of rules (and that’s already unrealistic) they’ll never be 3rd or 4th.

    At this stage, even with identical cars Mercedes would win championships. They have the best driver and they have a war machine, not a team. Everything is simply perfect. Along the stretch of a championship, they could gain 50 points just by never messing up. Ferrari had a better car in lot of races last year, yet they screwed up by making mistakes (both in the box and in the cockpit).

    Mercedes doesn’t need the best car to win at the moment, a good car can suffice. So again, I bet they are more than favorable to teams catching up technically. Winning championships goes far beyond having the best car.

    1. @m-bagattini

      What do you mean by Ferrari had the better car last year? Seb hinted it was difficult to drive. Kimi drove well and tires got destroyed. Lewis improved from his slight slump when Mercedes improved the tire cooling.

      Lewis was also out raced by Max twice in the slower Red Bull. If the cars were equal, you’d see many different winners depending on the conditions/a drivers favorite track etc etc.
      In equal cars Riccairdo, Verstappen, Leclerc, Hulkenburg, possibly even Norris would be on the podium and get wins depending on circumstances.
      Lets see Vettel in a Ferrari that’s perfect on its tires before slating him for ‘choking’ whilst holding faster cars behind for as long as he did.

      1. Some of these guys know better, you should have realized that yet. They even still say that the 2017 car was a champ winning car.

  13. Interestingly Max was pretty much saying the exact same thing.

  14. /tinfoil hat…..
    Until Lewis has surpassed Michael as the most successful driver in the history of F1, once again giving FOM and the FIA a commercialy interesting “GOAT” (most successful) to exploit and monetize, the rules will keep favoring Mercedes.

  15. Wolff is correct, stability brings convergence, but increased convergence is not was is necessary for F1 right now, the grid is already closer together than it has even been. Even Williams is within 103% of the fastest team.

    What F1 needs is closer wheel to wheel racing, and a new cleaner aero spec and much better tires are needed for that. Narrower, shorter, lighter cars would help.

    F1 also needs more on track action, and lining the cars up from fastest to slowest is a great recipe for boring races. It is foolish to give the faster cars a head start. Turn Fp3 into a reverse wdc grid sprint race 45 minutes long. Add the finishing positions of the sprint race to qualifying as it is now, line the grand prix grid up lowest score to highest.

  16. Shouldn’t they be working on following distance between cars? The performance difference between pole and last place is as close as a spec series like Indycar. If you throw out the Williams anomaly, it is even closer. Do something that makes it possible for a much faster Hamilton at Canada to pass Vettel without Vettel’s huge mistake.

  17. I would have previously disagreed with Toto, in the belief that rule changes break a team’s hegemony, and made things a bit of a wildcard for the lucky/smart ones to spot a loophole (e.g. the double diffuser).

    However, seeing how Ferrari have been able to turn up their engine performance in recent years makes me wonder if Toto has a point. A committed engineering effort can make the difference, and Ferrari seem to have done so in the PU department. I’m not going to say they have the more powerful engine, since we can only see overall performance from a car, and not the engine in isolation, but they definitely have a very powerful engine, one that can toe the line with Mercedes.

    I’ve often wondered how Ferrari would have performed with RBR aero (and strategists and drivers!) in 2018. Put another way, what if RBR was Ferrari-powered instead of Renault-powered in 2018? I suspect RBR would have taken the fight to Mercedes.

  18. Oddly enough Verstappen was just saying exactly the same. He feels keeping the regs more stable allows much better for performance parity.

    I say it’s “odd” because in general Red Bull have been calling for reg changes in an effort to get back ahead. They were clamoring for less engine dependency and more aero. Most people thought Red Bull would profit from it with their aero genius Newey, but the last two big rule changes they ended up further behind than they were before.

    Newey actually seems better in his element when he can do small incremental changes rather than big overhauls.

  19. That’s actually true what Wolff said … it’s called convergence .. If you have an advantage let say with the engine and there is a maximum what you can do with performance within the regulations then you can improve less in percentages to get to that maximum then another team who is behind with development of the engine. In other words If 100 procent is the maximum and Merc is at 98 procent and Honda at 92 procent then Honda has more room for improvement and If you stick to the same regulations long enough then in the end engine power would be equal .. so certainly not a dumb remark by Max. You can also see with the new regulations This year with the new wings that Merc has won because now they have the best chassis and that was not the case with the old regulations because at the end of last year RBR had the best chassis so because of the new wings regulations The races has become even more boring because of the dominance of Merc. With any new regulations the team with the most money will win and Merc has the most money!

  20. TW is not wrong, except that this current car is not what needs to be locked in for the long term that he is referring to for stability and convergence. Leaving the rules stable at this point will not help one of the biggest issues, if not THE biggest issue, which is way too much clean air dependence.

    Let’s follow through with the R&D that Brawn and his team with their nose to tail F1 cars in a wind tunnel have revealed, and bring in the cars that will only lose 20% of their performance rather than losing the 50% to 80% while in dirty air that they do now, get rid of drs as a result, put them on proper tires, and THEN let the regs stand for a good length of convergence time.

    These current cars must go. Who cares if they are all racing closer through convergence if one still can’t pass another and would need drs and mystery tires to do so?

  21. RichardForster
    13th June 2019, 20:18

    Mercedes have won every race this year. So how well has rules stability removed the Merc headstart they got when they set the 2014 engine rules to suit them? Laughable.

  22. Toto is misleading as usual. Going from 2016 to 2017 the top teams were closer to each other. Clearly a rule change is the best way to help others catch mercedes. But there is a trick too in it. Without budget gaps the bigger teams will always extract more performance from freer technical rules and as a result of the 2017 massive downforce increase the top teams pulled further away from the midfield even through the top teams were closer to each other.
    https://www.racefans.net/2017/12/12/six-charts-which-reveal-the-best-and-worst-team-performances-of-2017/

    I think the answer is crystal clear. To make the field closer and nullify mercedes’ advantage you need to move towards less downforce, an engine revamp and budget gap. Less downforce will not just make the racing better but it gives less opportunities for the big teams to spend millions on diminishing return items that in the end put the top teams far away from the mid pack. Engine revamp is obvious because the hybrid engines have failed at literally everything. Expenses, factory team reliance, political power shift to favour merc and ferrari, massive technical complexity, 100kg heavier cars resulting the need for massive downforce increase to make the cars faster, fuel saving, bad sound, baked in performance advantage for factory teams… list is endless. Nothing good came out of these engines. A total failure on every front.

    And lastly budget gap. Merc and ferrari and to lesser effect red bull are spending so much money that even porsche or volkswagen can not afford to enter f1. Budget gap won’t just make the cars closer in performance but it allows new teams to come in when the budget does not need to be in the billion range.

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