Toto Wolff, Mercedes, Sochi Autodrom, 2019

Mercedes consider 2021 F1 rules a “starting point”

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In the round-up: Toto Wolff says Mercedes expect further developments in the new rules for the 2021 F1 season.

What they say

Wolff was asked what he made of Ferrari’s decision not to veto the new rules for 2021.

Expressing the veto is a very strong, very strong move and it was always clear that Ferrari would be very sensible with that power that’s been given to them.

We all participated in the rule-making: Ferrari, Red Bull, ourselves. And some others believe that maybe the 2021 regulations de-tune what is the pinnacle of motor racing a little bit in terms of technology.

But I’m confident that together with the FIA in the next months we’re going to, when it comes down to the detail, we’re going come up with some good regulations. It’s a starting point. For us, we take it is a as challenge. It’s a very, very different car in 2021 and now it’s time to look ahead and do the best possible job.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

How many teams will be affected by the budget cap when it comes in?

I can definitely see five teams running at the cap, as Brown says (Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren, Renault), but I suspect Racing Point might join them. They’re making huge investments in bringing their facilities up to date and have at least two $2bn+ net worth guys in their ownership group, one of whom most likely wants his son to have the best possible car.

Maybe they won’t push as high in overall budget as they won’t go as deep into the exemptions as others (they don’t have a superstar driver taking home $30m+, for example) but I think the temptation to match the big teams on the capped spending will be very high.
Neil (@Neilosjames)

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 14 comments on “Mercedes consider 2021 F1 rules a “starting point””

    1. Intriguing thought about RP, @neilosjames

      1. Brown gave me the impression that 5 teams will be at the cap and the rest below with Renault and McLaren below, that would leave the big 3, RP and maybe Str on the cap.

    2. Re COTD: The five biggest at least, yes, and yes, RP could be one as well, but not necessarily. We shall wait and find out.

      Juju Noda, I only became aware of her today, thanks to Hazel’s tweet. A fun fact I also found out: Her idol is Lance Stroll.

      1. I fail to see how this is a surprise anyway. Or is it the surprise that the budget cap is set so low that it hits teams like McLaren and Renault?

        1. McLaren and Renault probably don’t feel “hit” by the cap but rather blessed that it’s something they can reach. They’re the two biggest beneficiaries of the cap as it now is as it allows them to join the group of top spenders while still outspending half the grid.

    3. Massa tips Leclerc to win F1 title before Verstappen

      I think where Leclerc has the edge over Verstappen in is his approach, though both are very quick and obviously talented. Leclerc has a better handle on his a emotions I think.
      But that may not be the deciding factor who comes out on top. With Russell and Ocon on the way through Verstappen may find himself wrong footed to get a drive in a Merc or Ferrari. But having said that if RB can catch back up then he will not need to move to challenge for a WDC.

      1. @johnrkh Ocon isn’t going to be Mercedes-tied beyond the end of this year anymore, but a fully-fledged Renault-driver, i.e., not on-loan like Sainz was there.

        1. @jerejj, the way that both Toto and Abiteboul phrased their response was carefully worded though – they stated that Mercedes would not have direct control over Ocon during his contract with Renault, but did not make any mention of what happens after his current contract with Renault ends.

          Additionally, Ocon will still retain links with Mercedes as Abiteboul has confirmed that Mercedes are still acting as his management company – so, whilst he is not on loan, at the same time Ocon isn’t completely cutting all ties with Mercedes either.

      2. All about who gets the winning car first, both have what it takes to win. Max is so quick that it doesn’t matter if he goes for broke a few times and Leclerc has more common sense than the whole Ferrari pitwall.

    4. Watching Juju Noda from here on is going to be interesting because while you hear a lot about her achievements in (Unofficially) breaking lap records at such a young age there are still a lot of unknowns regarding how good (Or not) she really is.

      I’ve heard some believe she’s something really special while others believe there’s been a lot of smoke in mirrors to make her appear better than she is.
      There’s certainly a lot of questions about her karting record as it seems they have been incredibly selective in what they entered her in. There is also a lot of questions about how legal the cars she ‘broke records’ in were at the time, Especially given how much faster than the lap records she went at times. At Okayama for instance she was over 1 second faster than the F4 lap record which in spec cars that are as restricted as they are seems a but unusual.

      I hope she’s as good as they say she is & I hope she does really well but I really fear that even if she’s good she will never match the hype & I just hope that doesn’t hurt her career in any way.

    5. I don’t think it should be a surprise that Massa would back a Ferrari driver over Max in the debate about which driver might win a WDC first. Personally my money would be on Max, but of course as we all know it is going to come down to the car. Odds are Mercedes will dominate again next year, and then who knows after that. But of course here’s hoping there is more parity amongst the pu’s next year and that would really bode well for 2021 as well. Obviously it would be great if Ferrari and RBR were a steady and solid match for Mercedes next year, but Merc have had such a strangle hold on the Championships in the hybrid era, they have to be given the nod for 2020 as well until others show otherwise. Other than that, for me if MV and CL had equal cars that they were equally comfortable in, my money would be on Max all day long.

    6. I think everyone considers 2021 a starting point. It will likely take the engineers 2 years to fully exploit the gaps in the rules and/r seek clarification of the rules. During that time the FIA and Liberty will modify the rules to close some of the gaps etc., so we probably won’t come close to a final set of rules until mid 2023 or early 2024.

    7. Regarding the COTD:
      I usually find myself rubbishing anything he says, but JV has an interesting take on the budget cap. He was openly questioning if a team like Williams deserve the help that a budget cap will provide by saying:

      “Only the top three teams will spend the $175 million. Williams put about $16 million in its pocket last year while finishing last. So the management and the shareholders are happy.
      Even if the cap was $50 million, Williams would spend 20 and stay at the bottom. So it’s a joke. Nobody wins.”

      I found that to be a very interesting point. If the smaller teams adjust their budgets accordingly so they still spend x% of what the larger teams do, has the cap really achieved the desired results?

    8. Obvious that the first of the two to become champion is the first one to go to Mercedes which is likely Verstappen.

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