Analysis: Which teams could gain the most from F1’s 2022 rules revolution

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Virtually every discussion about the 2022 Formula 1 season with team personnel – whatever status they occupy within their organisations – ends with optimistic noises about the opportunity presented by the coming overhaul of the technical rules.

Yet overlooked in all this bullishness is the inescapable fact that for every team that progresses, another most go backwards.

On an overall basis, the best the team bosses can collectively hope for – as do the fans, and fervently so – is that the revised regulations result in closer racing rather an any major changes in the established pecking order. That said, diehard supporters of particular outfits would love to see their red or orange or blue or whatever teams restored to championship-winning glory by the regulatory changes.

Although intended for 2021 introduction, the changes were rolled over a year due to Covid, with few further revisions other than clarifications. Said regulation changes are aimed at reducing ‘following car distance’ by reducing ‘dirty air’ created by cars ahead, which currently makes overtaking difficult – as Sergio Perez demonstrated on Sunday in Mexico, sitting directly behind Lewis Hamilton for the final 10 laps of the race.

2022 F1 car model, Silverstone, 2021
Teams are designing their 2022 cars to completely new rules
Due to these changes next year’s cars will differ markedly from the current crop despite their power units being carried over virtually unchanged. Front and rear wings, airboxes, sidepods, brake ducts and underbodies are all affected. The adoption of 18-inch wheels is the biggest individual change, technically and visually. Renders and concept models released by F1 show the extent of the changes.

However, the biggest unseen influence on the design of the cars is brought about by the changes to parts categories, coupled with the effects of the $145 million (£107m) budget cap introduced from January 1st this year – which is also when the FIA allowed designers to get to work on their 2022 machines. However the big spends will occur during the first two months of 2022, when the cars are due to be produced and testing commences.

Previously components were divided into listed parts (to which teams need to hold the design rights) and unlisted (free sourcing) on a binary basis. Form next year, for cost reasons, the incoming regulations provide for four component categories, namely: Listed (as above), Standard (single supplier via tender), Transferable (shared between teams), and Open Source (design made available to all teams).

Examples of each category are:

  • Listed team components (LTC): Aerodynamic components, survival cell and primary roll structure
  • Standard supply components (SSC): Mainly safety items and electrical/fuel control systems
  • Transferable Components (TRC): Complete front and rear suspension assemblies; electrical looms
  • Open Source Components (OSC): Front floor structure, brake friction materials, rear brake control systems

The effects of these categories are, though, varied, and likely to affect all teams differently, depending upon their historic modus operandi and individual business models. For example, Haas, which traditionally outsourced the majority of components from Ferrari and Dallara will be affected differently to, say Mercedes or Ferrari, which have vertically integrated technical and manufacturing operations.

Red Bull factory, Milton Keynes, 2021
Red Bull is bringing its engine development in-house
With its Red Bull Powertrains project – situated on Red Bull’s Milton Keynes campus – nearing completion the team will soon be fully self-sufficient and working to a Ferrari-style model in that its chassis and engine operations are clustered together. In comparison, around 60 kilometres separates the two Mercedes operations.

That said, Red Bull Racing operates to a unique model in that Red Bull Technologies is its primary supplier, which in the past also supplied sister team AlphaTauri – usually with year-old (design) components, and hence the historic similarity between their cars, albeit a year apart. The problem is that in 2022 there will be no year-old design parts to inherit. That same applies largely with the Aston Martin/Mercedes relationship.

In addition, the major teams are likely to be most affected by the financial regulations (budget cap), which resulted in reduced headcounts and potentially greater outsourcing than hitherto has been the case, in particular where price – not immediate availability or finite quality – is the main criterion. Haas is, though, well within the cap, while Sauber is gradually edging upwards.

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Another influencing factor is the aerodynamic test regulations (ATR) which reduce wind tunnel and CFD allowances on a sliding scale. The best-placed teams in the championship are permitted fewer runs than their rivals.

Mercedes Brackley factory 2018 - wind tunnel
Comment: Sliding scale? BoP? Call F1’s new aero rule what it is: A handicap
This could prove crucial when testing 2022 concepts, particularly as some teams continued upgrading their 2021 cars due to the tightness of their championship fights, all while designing the 2022 challenger. This incurred resources that could have been allocated to 2022 cars.

“I think there’s several advantages to being further back in the championship, with the CFD and wind tunnel benefit that you get from that, which is really important for a 2022 car,” McLaren technical director James Key told RaceFans.

“It was great to finish third last year, but it did have a minor effect on how much development we could do with our tools compared to an eighth, ninth or 10th position team. They’ve definitely got a little advantage there.”

The major teams, though, have infrastructure advantages, having invested in the best facilities prior to the cap. This momentum is likely to benefit them – on a reducing basis – for the next two to three seasons until these technologies become outdated. Thus, any team boss who believes the playing field will suddenly be levelled is likely to be disillusioned.

That said, in the immediate aftermath of F1’s last major regulatory change, in 2009, saw the independent Brawn team, which rose out of the ashes of Honda’s withdrawal and was headed by current F1 managing director Ross Brawn, walk both titles after discovering a loophole in the regulations which permitted double-decker rear diffusers.

F1 cars, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021
First test of 2021 will be “terrifying” for teams
Only once others followed suit did this underfunded operation gradually lose its advantage. Could a similar situation arise next year, RaceFans asked Key; could some or other minnow outfit discover a trick or two?

“I think there’s a lot of subtleties in [the regulations] to be exploited,” he said, adding, “That’s going to be the journey in 2022. You’re not going to see double diffusers and that sort of huge kind of innovation with these regulations; they’re too restrictive for that.

“But there’ll be other clever ideas and ways of approaching things which we’ll begin to spot as these cars get released. So I think there’s probably less traps there.”

“It’s really difficult to say where it’s going to play out,” he continued. “When you’ve got new regs like this, the most terrifying part of the year is that first qualifying session where everyone actually shows how quick they are. I guess we’re not going to know until qualifying in Bahrain, ultimately, next year, exactly where people appear to stand. And even that can throw you a few oddballs at times.”

So, which teams can be justifiably bullish about 2022 and which not?


Mercedes

The team has amongst the best facilities and resources and enjoys the momentum of a seven-year hegemony. Add in politically astute team management, Daimler resources even if these are declarable under the cap, history of solid innovations such as DAS and current rear suspension design, in-house powertrain supplier, arguably the most complete driver of any generation in Hamilton, and Mercedes is likely to remain a front runner.

ATR restrictions, budget cap reductions and ‘clean sheet’ car design are, though, likely to impact on performance, as are the unknowns of the 18-inch tyres and effects of the engine freeze. Only a brave gambler would bet on a sub-top-three placing

Red Bull Racing

Adrian Newey, Red Bull, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2021
Will Newey find an aero advantage for Red Bull?
With a technical director (Adrian Newey) who is an ace aerodynamicist – significantly, the changes are mainly aero-related, which plays to his strengths – long-term management and operational stability (key personnel have been with the team for 15 years or more), a deep-pocketed owner in Dietrich Mateschitz and Honda’s race-winning engine – albeit no longer ‘works’ supported – and the most committed driver on the current grid (Max Verstappen) and solid number two (Perez), Red Bull could again be in the mix for top honours.

The team has, though, lost staff due to cutbacks and the Red Bull Powertrains project could deflect attention from 2022. Still, it has momentum from this year – regardless of outcome – so cannot be discounted.

Ferrari

The Italian team is rebuilding after some torrid years and draws on top class resources. The power unit was revamped with more promised prior to the freeze, while Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jnr complement each other perfectly. Having Rory Byrne, who designed Ferrari’s record-setting 1998-2007 cars, aboard as consultant is Ferrari’s ace card.

Headcount reductions and the need to regroup internally will have a negative effect, while its fight with McLaren for third place has split its focus, if only marginally. However, there are no doubts that Ferrari is on the way up.

McLaren

The team took a budget cap hit last year so has its structures in place. As the only fully independent team reliant only on external (Mercedes) power unit supply it controls its own chassis destiny, while Daniel Ricciardo brings a wealth of car development experience with him, having raced for Red Bull and Renault before joining this year. He could make a vital difference.

On the downside the team team’s own facilities are not fully up to scratch and won’t be until 2023 at earliest – it still relies on Toyota’s Cologne wind tunnel for aero work. Although the team is highly motivated and expectations of big results in 2022 are probably premature.

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Alpine

Esteban Ocon, Alpine, Circuit of the Americas, 2021
Alpine have revised their goal for getting to the front
The French team set itself a target of 100 races to score regular podiums and is thus unlikely to fight at the sharp end on before then.

“Now we have a bit more stability, a bit more of a runway and also more clarity on the fact that the investments are going to be more of less similar to others,” Alpine CEO explained to RaceFans in Mexico. “It’s going to be down to efficiency, experience, savvy-ness, other criteria, so I would say this new plan, we intend on fully delivering it.”

Still, the timeframe takes the team to 2024, at earliest. On the plus side it has the vastly experienced Pat Fry as technical director, while Fernando Alonso’s dogged determination, supported by the zest of Esteban Ocon, occasionally takes the team to places it has no right to be.

That will continue, but expecting better than fifth overall is a long shot a particularly if it fails to upgrade on the power unit front prior to the development freeze kicking in.

AlphaTauri

With Red Bull Technologies concentrating on the main team, the Italian operation is forced to undertake the bulk of its car design and development in Faenza, Italy. Concurrently it switched from using its own (50%) wind tunnel to Red Bull’s more representative 60% facility, which should improve accuracy provided there are no correlation issues.

Will the team move up from 6th next year? That will prove a major challenge, particularly given Yuki Tsunoda’s inexperience.

Aston Martin

Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2021
Aston Martin are looking to the longer-term
The team is Mercedes’ main customer and that is both a strength and weakness given the number of all-new components required for 2022. While not as acute as AlphaTauri’s situation, Aston Martin is nonetheless obliged to wait until Mercedes has fully completed whatever components it plans to draw from Brackley.

Strengths are Sebastian Vettel’s development ability, intensive recruitment of senior technical personnel – although these mostly arrive too late to influence the 2022 car – and the sourcing of complete Mercedes back-ends, which has basically proven bullet-proof.

In addition, Aston Martin is constructing a massive £200m extension to its campus, due to open by the start of 2023. But will all these factors prove sufficient to propel the team up the grid? Possibly by a slot or two in 2022; potentially more thereafter.

Williams

Capital expenditure investments made by new owners Dorilton have given the team a new lease of life, while receiving gearboxes from Mercedes from next year should improve reliability. Williams should move up, but would likely have done so without regulation changes given new executive and technical management led by Jost Capito and FX Demaison respectively. The questions are: how far, and who will slide down?

Alfa Romeo

Luring Bottas is a coup for Alfa Romeo
The Sauber-run team effectively stopped all work on its current car before the season started and ramped up its facilities and work force. Signing Valtteri Bottas, who has run Hamilton close on occasion, is a coup which should pay dividends on the race and development sides, but the team is likely to stick a rookie in the second car, which could hamper feedback.

However, the team is confident of moving up.

Haas

It is all change at Haas, which established a new design office in Maranello staffed (mainly) by ex-Ferrari people, with Dallara providing technical support where needed. The team took a conscious decision to not develop its current car in order to focus on 2022 and hopes the gamble will pay off.

Team boss Guenther Steiner told RaceFans in Mexico, “we can’t go further back,” so at worst the teams stays at the back of the grid. It does, though, have driver stability on its side while the new design office structure should pay dividends.


Ten teams, ten sets of hopes and ideals, yet on average just five will have achieved their objectives come Abu Dhabi 2022.

Conventional wisdom has it that the pecking order will be evident during qualifying for the opener in Bahrain, but even that is not a given for so new are the cars that performance could be unlocked thereafter. The 2022 season will likely be too close to call until the mid-point, possibly even later.

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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...

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  • 43 comments on “Analysis: Which teams could gain the most from F1’s 2022 rules revolution”

    1. Given their results before 2019 (and unchanged ground floor staff, though now with more money and a different owner, name) with often clever in-budget solutions (not quite unlike Sauber but they have tended to be come with a bit too complex solutions that aren’t as easy to evaluate I think) I do think Aston Martin should be expected to be solid, unhampered by an evolution of a car that got hit by the needed 2021 aero rules, more so than the article seems to suggest.

      Great summary of where teams probably stand @dieterrencken, good lunch read for me.

      1. Personally, I think Stroll gutted what was great about AM (Force India) they lost their ability to work on their own designs and understand the design of the car from the ground up when they copied the Mercedes. I don’t think we’ll see the benefit of his new hires for another season or two after 2022, you can’t change an underlying culture in a business like F1 and expect results immediately, he’s made massive investments in team, I just don’t see them paying off for another couple of seasons.

    2. Good article and fully agree with most of the predictions

      I’d have my money on mclaren if it wasn’t for a clause that stipulates them not to beat Mercedes (right?)

      I’m not too optimistic about red bull.. focus is entirely on this championship, and newey might be past his prime.

      1. It’s hard to tell with Red Bull. A lot of it will be down to how they get the floor to work – if Newey nails that, there’s just as much chance they could be faster than everyone else. Whereas teams generally quickly copy each other, it’s not going to be so easy considering the important parts will be hidden from sight.

        1. @petebaldwin
          I don’t expect RBR to be the outright fastest from the first race. I think Mercedes will be the team to beat. In any aero rule change Newey himself has admitted that his main concern is to get the car concept right from the beginning which will serve for him and his team as the baseline which they can build on top of it.

          I suspect RBR (just like in 2017) will launch a basic car to validate the aero concepts and then they will gradually start upgrading it during the first races. Once they have a clear understanding of the development direction they will follow, they will start developing it intensely during the season.

          Mercedes on the other hand are famous for getting to validate their car concept during their first outing at Silverstone and make sure everything is running according to the plan. They do have a lot of trust in their simulations, wind tunnel, systems and tools. Then they arrive at Melbourne with a heavily upgraded B-version of their car.

          Though anything can happen in F1 and it usually does (Murray Walker). Theoretically speaking someone can still pull a Brawn and have a jump start over the competition.

      2. Ipsom I’m confident that RBR are every bit as capable as the likes of Mercedes to both work on next year’s car all the while contending this year’s Championships. Keep in mind they all started working on these cars a couple of years ago only to have been put on pause by the pandemic. A couple of years ago Mercedes had no sustained competition and therefore could put sufficient effort into the new project, and at the same time RBR knew they just weren’t going to catch up to Mercedes, particularly on the pu side, so they would have also been putting sufficient energy into the new project. This year I think both teams will have been able to put an equal amount of energy into both their current campaign and next year’s cars.

        As to Newey being ‘past his prime’ I think that is an odd comment since they have been having a great car for a number of seasons now, and have just generally needed the pu to catch up, and here they are on the cusp of a potential Championship. What evidence have you of Newey past his prime? If anything I would suggest he is likely highly stoked at having a new challenge in these new ground effects cars. I bet he’s having a blast and is feeling the ‘a change is as good as a rest’ phenomenon.

        1. A practicing engineer’s prime, and management of such, does not follow the same curve as athletics and sports. Distraction, with accrued affluence and family, certainly can come into it, but sharp edge capability does not really fall off until /maybe/ actual old age, and even then not for all engineers.

        2. @robbie
          I don’t have any evidence. It’s just that its hard to stay at your peak and ahead of the game for so long.
          Another way to word it is that other engineers have caught up to him. We’ve seen some great stuff from Mercedes with DAS for example. And red bull just got a championship worthy car after the better half of a decade with these regulations

        3. @robbie whilst Newey has acknowledged that the change is large, the statements he has made in the past make it clear he is not at all “highly stoked” about the upcoming regulations. In fact, his publicly stated view about the 2022 regulations is the polar opposite of your claim – earlier this year, Newey stated “I have to admit that I still have to find something to make these rules exciting for myself.”.

          He’s also described the new rules as being very badly written, called them a “missed opportunity” and an “awful shame”, complained that the rules are excessively prescriptive and restrictive and were “pushed through regardless of what people think”, as well as having openly questioned whether the rules can live up to the hype that has been built up around them.

          Newey’s public position means he has been pretty consistently one of the harshest critics of the new rules – he might accept the change, but he’s not remotely enthusiastic about it.

          1. anon From what I have read it sounds like indeed he is warming to the rules the more he has delved into them, and let’s face it he has never been a fan of more and more restrictions to his craft. Perhaps ‘highly stoked’ is over stating it. But it is a new challenge for him too. He has said that in many ways he is looking forward to the opportunity to try to understand new things. He has said the high rake cars will go away. And sure, initially there may be a move away from the convergence we are seeing this season, but that convergence has taken seven years to happen, and now the pu’s are fairly converged. If there is a spreading apart next year imho it won’t last long, certainly nowhere near seven years.

            1. @robbie he’s still very much damning the rules with faint praise though, as even as he’s suggested that there may be a little more interest in the rules, he’s still saying that he thinks that the underlying philosophy is flawed and taking the rules in the wrong direction.

              I have to say that I am not sure I see the relevance of much of the latter part of your post though. Saying that the high rake cars will go is because that’s part of the structure of the regulations – it’s a technical observation, but even then raked cars will still stay to some extent. As for the questions of the divergence and convergence of the field – that doesn’t really have much relevance to the criticisms he has raised about the underlying basis of the rules being, in his opinion, flawed from the start.

              It looks more like a case of Newey accepting that the rules are changing, but not being particularly enthusiastic about the driving philosophy behind those changes or the way in which they are being implemented.

    3. there are no doubts that Ferrari is on the way up.

      No doubts? None at all?

      They have much to prove especially in consistency, team dynamics and focus.

      1. “next year will be our year”
        -Tifosi for the past 12 seasons

    4. I have the highest hopes on Ferrari being in the top mix with Merc & RBR again, like most recently in 2019, followed by Mclaren.

    5. So the rich teams will form top three and the midfield teams will try to match them and the back markers will depend on a brilliant invention to rise .
      So for at least two years the status quo will stay the same.
      Why did we changed the design rules at a moment things seems to converge….

      1. erikje Surely you know some of the answers to that. The most obvious being they didn’t change the design rules ‘at the moment’ things seemed to converge. At the time Liberty took over, Mercedes were looking to have a lock on domination, but aside from that Brawn and all of F1 and it’s fandom had already known for years that the cars have been way too clean air dependent. Brawn formed a team in 2017 that immediately started researching the best ways to greatly reduce the negative effect of dirty air, not considering whatsoever whether or not there would be convergence in the current format. That wasn’t the point. The fact that things have ‘now converged’ misses the point that it took 7 years for that to happen, and still doesn’t solve the problem of cars unable to race closely due to dirty air.

        You may be right and there may or may not be at least two years of the status quo ahead of us, but for me they will be starting off on a much better basis from which to tweak things if they have to, the pu’s are already converged, and so I don’t think we will be waiting 7 years for convergence, and indeed I expect in year one next year there will already be much more close combat between drivers, even if things are relatively status quo initially.

        1. Jose Lopes da Silva
          10th November 2021, 23:00

          I’ve been waiting for reducing air dependence for 25 years now.

    6. someone or something
      10th November 2021, 13:46

      No doubts? None at all?

      If you look at 2020, then early 2021, then second half of 2021, then yes, they are clearly on the way up.
      Whether that’ll carry over to 2022 is a whole different matter, seeing how no one can tell what the new generation of cars will bring, and how much of an impact Ferrari’s 6th place in 2020 – and the additional wind tunnel times that stem from it – will have.
      However, judging by the available facts, Ferrari have clearly managed to get out of the hole they dug for themselves in 2020, and they’ve managed to improve over the course of this season as well. Therefore, they are on the way up.

      1. someone or something
        10th November 2021, 13:47

        @witan

      2. They’re on their way up regarding finally getting on top of this generation’s regs. I’m yet to be convinced that the underlying problems are solved that caused them all the problems in the first place.

        With McLaren, they’ve done a lot of work to get the right people in the right places. I’m not 100% sure Ferrari are there yet. We’ll see.

    7. Can they tear up the engine freeze agreement?

    8. It does, though, have driver stability on its side (Haas)

      But is that a good thing thoooooooough?

      1. @eljueta Mick has a fairly established pattern of getting much better in his second season in a category, so if that carries on he will be strong with Haas next year. The other guy is barely worthy of a superlicence, but historically plenty of teams have done OK with one good driver and one journeyman.

    9. Good article and summaries of the actual situation (strengths and weaknesses of each team).

      Though it doesn’t really help me with predicting the pecking order for next year as: 2 teams stay on top; 7 teams are on the way up; and 1 team can’t go further back ;)

    10. Mercedes and RB. It is their ruleset. Merc pushes for more floor and rb makes the wings even more massive.

    11. Rules are basically meaningless, it’s all down to the quality of your engineering and design group.

      Yes, you can still throw obstacles in the way of the best group of engineers with regulatory BS (think FIA in 2005, or 1994), but they’ll come through in the end.

    12. Prediction 2021;

      Championship contenders;
      Merx, Redbull
      Followed by Ferrari and Mclaren (Odd win possible)
      Midfield;
      Aston, Alpine, AT
      Back markers;
      Alfa, Haas, Williams

      So not much change predicted…. perhaps Haas can join the Midfield?

      hopefully Ferrari and McLaren closer to the top 2. But unlikely to see a 4 way battle for the Championship….

      1. Cronies Very possible and that’s ok if all the while we have a lot more close combat between drivers. Liberty and Brawn have never said the goal is to make all teams equal and all drivers with an equal chance. Just to make it fairer, try to get away from 7 year runs of domination, and with cars much less negatively affected in dirty air have much more close combat with drivers much more confident in their cars while trailing someone.

        1. @robbie, I agree about the less affected by dirty air, but in all reality, the 7 years of dominance was not the fault of Mercedes or of the rules.
          Ferrari had the capability to compete and managed to shoot themselves in the foot during a couple of seasons and RBR made a hash of their car designs for several years (in addition the the PU shortfalls) where they took 1/2 the season to optimise their chassis. Both “should” have done better and didn’t.
          Mercedes really delivered far more than a great PU consistently, and couple that with a top class driver probably deserved their dominance – I really didn’t expect them to out design the team at RBR but until this year, I’d have to say they did.

          I’m hoping that with a clean sheet start that next season we’ll at least see 3 or 4 teams closely matched at the front. Add to that their ability to challenge in cleaner air (if that in fact transpires) it should be a brilliant year.

    13. I have no idea how the new rules will change things.

      If it is a case of Merc and RB still dominating then we will have to accept that, but if I just hope and pray that at least one other team gets into their league.

      Either Ferrari or McLaren would be nice from a historical perspective, but even if it is Hass I will just be happy to see another team mixing it up at the front :)

    14. “Yet overlooked in all this bullishness is the inescapable fact that for every team that progresses, another most go backwards.”

      Seems nonsense to me. All teams might become equally faster or slower. One team might have the winning formula (like Mercedes in 2014), with all the other teams going backwards.
      This is not like physics where there is a finite amount of energy in the universe and if one team takes a greater percentage of that energy that one or more other teams lose that amount of energy

      1. To me, what he meant was progressing in the manufacturers championship standings. For a team to gain one position, another team loose that position. But sure, most of the time all teams are probably becoming better at what they do over time. Those that progress slower than the average will look like they are getting worse, because they are relative to the competition.

    15. So all teams moving forward.. This can only mean Mercedes will move to the back?

      Good to read such a well writen summary of current outlooks.

      What I can see is Mercedes being slightly closer to the pack and Red Bull struggling with the engine.

      I am curious where will Haas land?

    16. The 2022 season will likely be too close to call until the mid-point, possibly even later.

      Where is this statement coming from? Was 2009 too close to call? Or 2014?

    17. Here’s a pessimistic view, but since virtually every team seem to have processes in place to improve operations the real question ought to be who might fail at doing so.
      If anything it sounds to me like Mercedes has the least forward momentum. They are basically sitting on top, now restrained by a tighter budget, and would therefor struggle to accelerate from where they are. They have the advantage of all previous investment already in place, but would at best stay the same while the rest have scope for improvements. Relative to others this would move them backwards. Will this cause them to drop down the order though? I think possibly yes, but then probably not by much. Still a top team, but their days of domination are over.
      I have some feeling that scaling down might actually help Ferrari become more efficient, finally. However my personal trust in their organisation culture is almost as low as it gets, they never seem to learn from mistakes. So they might as well not cope with scaling things down in which case they would suffer hard. They are the biggest unknown for me. They could draw level with the current top two and give us a fantastic three-way battle at the front, or drop way down the field.
      Alpine, and Renault before, seem to keep setting targets and then later pretending those targets were not as high as they were. I don’t think they will move forwards, but have a good chance of holding position.
      AlphaTauri are doing great at the moment for what they are, I can’t see them getting better than this as a junior team. Which in relative terms if anything means a risk of moving backwards.
      I didn’t see much potential in the old ForceIndia, but old man Stroll has been doing a lot of things right. AstonMartin is on the way up, especially long-term I think. They now have potential to hit the mark, but gut-feeling says it will take another year or so. Especially given they rely so heavily on Mercedes parts that are developed for a car they haven’t seen yet. So for the first year of the new regulations they might stay about where they are, but could also fall back.
      I’m sorry for Haas, I’m afraid they might pull out soon. They need a lot of luck to improve against the competition, even with full focus on the new regulations this year. Best they can hope for is to not be as far off the rest.

      1. Robert
        Let’s hope Mercedes suffer from this stagnation of becoming too big and get their development at least partially wrong and Red Bull burn themselves a little in their attempt to conquer both crowns in 2021 and stays the same or lose some power for 2022. This is probably the only way of having a three-way team fight or more next year, as proved in recent races they’re ridiculously ahead of other teams, not rarely finishing races a full minute before the best of the rest, lapping two-thirds of the entire field or even more in some tracks, etc.

        1. Or else if some of those teams have a wild card hidden with them, and promptly jump way ahead in the beginning of the 2022 season. It’s for sure be the funniest scenario, as it’d completely mess up the order we’re so used to. And the other teams would take their time to catch up, then re-equilibrating the field. If this process happens fast, probably is the best case we can hope for the time being of the new regulations: one team getting an early domination (it could even be Haas finding themselves running riot in the championship, although very unlikely) and a fully competitive field emerging later as their secrets are being discovered by the opponents.

      2. I wouldnt discount Alpine.
        Alpine is focused on next year, more than any other, since last year.
        They are not falling back in 2021 because they did a bad job this year (like Aston martin), but because they are running a chassis and engine that are 3 years old now and are the oldest on the grid ; )
        This hardware was supposed to be retired in 2020 and do 2 seasons, not 3 – and it would have gone out with a bang, thanks to the good season it did in 2020 despite its age and the compromises it was based on- but the 2021 freeze came and forced Alpine to re-extend the life of this already old car and PU.
        That’s why 2021 is anything but representative for Alpine, they can only fall back. And we can’t compare their performance to others.
        So yeah, in 2022 they can be one of the biggest improvers.

    18. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      10th November 2021, 21:23

      Good article but from the predictions it sounds like none of the teams will win haha.

    19. arguably the most complete driver of any generation in Hamilton

      The most statistically complete, it must be. When about half of his career contains only one title and the other half yielded six, the statistics get a little bit unrepresentative.

      1. But as for most complete in terms of driving performance, well… So much for poor Hammy, as probably not even Senna was the most complete performer in the history of Formula 1, albeit one of the fastest if not the 1st in raw speed for sure. And of course Senna was so much better than Hamilton in almost every aspect. Anyone who saw what he could do on-track, specially a wet one, would never have any doubts on it.

    20. What will be really interesting is how F1 reacts if one team brings an absolute beast to race 1 and just flys away from the rest because a designer comes up with something unique.

      Will they ban it immediately or will they wait and see if others manage to close the gap.

      1. @dbradock Brawn has previously talked about how the changes to the governance procedures will now allow them to change the rules almost immediately to react to such a situation.

        He’s talked about how “if you exploit a loophole in the future, you can be shut down the next race” and “”If one team stands out there with a solution that had never been conceived and had never been imagined, and destroys the whole principle of what’s trying to be done, the governance would allow, with sufficient support from the other teams, to stop it.”

        Currently, he has added the caveat that he doesn’t want to be seen to be punishing “someone who has a great idea”, but has also noted that there is likely to be a lot of subjectivity in what somebody might think is a great idea and somebody else exploiting the rules.

        Still, it does suggest that the sport could indeed move to ban something immediately if they chose to define it as “breaking the spirit of the regulations”.

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