Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Spa-Francorchamps, 2014

Will F1’s new rules mean a return to single team dominance in 2022?

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Formula 1 is a sport that loves to reinvent itself, drastically rewriting its rulebook from time to time in a bid to make cars either faster, slower, more efficient – or to ‘improve the show’.

The 2022 F1 season is one of those years that will see a major shake-up of how cars look and operate. With heavily reworked bodyshapes and the reintroduction of ground-effect floors to generate downforce, the sport’s bosses hope to create closer, more exiting races.

But does the overhaul of the technical regulations mean this season will be more competitive, or will the new formula see the one team that makes the best job of adapting to it sweep both championships with relative ease?

It is a phenomenon seen multiple times before. Who can forget when radical new regulations designed to improve racing were introduced back in 2009 and saw the Honda-designed Brawn BGP001 win six of the first seven races of the season? Or when McLaren lapped the field in the opening race at Melbourne back in 1998?

Or the most recent overhaul of the regulations, when the V6 hybrid turbo units were introduced in 2014, and Mercedes won 51 out of the next 59 races in a three-year spell of domination?

With so many unknowns heading into this upcoming season, the possibilities are as enticing as they are varied. But is there a risk we’ll see this year’s championship prove to be a one-horse race, after 2021’s enthralling year-long battle for the crown?

For

As with many of its past rules shake-ups, Formula 1 is trying to encourage closer competition with this latest revamp. But when design and development become even more critical than usual, having more personnel, more factory space, a bigger wind tunnel – it all becomes vital.

It’s only natural, therefore, to assume that the larger teams with the greater resources are far better suited to adapt to drastic new regulations than those with more modest means. And with Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari all saving development tokens for 2022, it’s foolish to assume they will be found lacking when they turn up in Bahrain.

There is also the fact history often repeats itself in Formula 1. McLaren did it at the start of 1998. Brawn GP did it at the start of 2009. Even Mercedes did it at the dawn of the V6 turbo era on their way to the first of eight consecutive constructors’ championship.

And with the Silver Arrows stating their strong intent by being the first time to share footage of firing up their 2022 car before last year was over, it is an ominous sign for the rest of the field.

Against

There is a lot changing for this year beyond the technical regulations that could go a long way to making this year the most open season seen for generations.

Many of the teams lower down the grid will have targeted 2022 for years before now and prioritised their resources and development programmes accordingly. If Brawn could go from the back of the field to the front, anyone is capable of the same this season.

Let’s not forget either that those who finished lower down in the constructor’s championship in 2020 – Alfa Romeo, Haas, Williams – were granted far more aero development time than those at the front under F1’s new aerodynamic testing regulations. That in itself is almost guaranteed to keep the field closer than it otherwise would have been.

And although Mercedes did not spend development tokens on the W12 through last season, their curious power unit tactics in the latter half of 2021 demonstrated that their battle against Red Bull definitely received a significant portion of their development programme throughout the year.

I say

The 2022 changes represent the greatest disruption of F1’s aerodynamic rules for many years. They are more profound than both the 2009 ‘Overtaking Working Group’ changes and the partial U-turn on that overhaul the 2017 regulations represented. Therefore there is considerable scope for one team to steal a march on the opposition.

However many teams and their designers have indicated that the new rules are more restrictive than those they replace. The deletion of substantial areas of bodywork, such as the intricate and powerful bargeboards, will remove entire areas of development. It remains to be seen whether the new freedoms offered in floor design will offer as much scope for differentiation between the cars. It is telling that some designers believe the new rules will result in the cars looking more alike.

Moreover, with the power unit regulation remaining unchanged for this year, the potential for a team to gain an advantage in this area is not as great.

The 12-month delay in the introduction of the rules, which were originally due to arrive in 2021, has given the FIA more time to tighten up the wording and eliminate the possibility of unexpected developments such as Brawn GP’s notorious 2009 ‘double diffuser’.

Then there is the question of whether F1 and the FIA are prepared to tolerate one team drawing far ahead of the competition. The FIA has regularly wielded technical directives to outlaw rules interpretations it disapproves of – if one team claims a significant advantage, don’t be surprised if new TDs appear soon after the opening rounds.

In short, the potential for a return to single-team dominance is there, but it’s not as great as with some past rules changes, and those running the show are likely to stamp it out.



You say

Do you agree that we are likely to see one team dominate the 2022 F1 season?

  • Strongly agree (20%)
  • Slightly agree (35%)
  • Neither agree nor disagree (16%)
  • Slightly disagree (26%)
  • Strongly disagree (2%)
  • No opinion (1%)

Total Voters: 167

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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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  • 59 comments on “Will F1’s new rules mean a return to single team dominance in 2022?”

    1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
      2nd January 2022, 10:11

      Moreover, with the power unit regulation remaining unchanged for this year, the potential for a team to gain an advantage in this area is not as great.

      Not quite true as the engines are going through their final iteration of development to run on E10 fuel.

      1. RBR need to retain the genius of Adrian Newey. They should take away his bike!

    2. Dominance? Maybe not – or at least not to the level we’ve seen over the last 8 years – but there will almost certainly be one or two teams that come out, and stay, stronger than the rest for at least the first half of the year.
      The on-track product will still undeniably be F1 – as in mostly predictable and uncompetitive.

    3. When as seemingly slight regulation changes as a bit of floor cut results in a 1-second performance loss for certain car designs, it is highly likely that a whole new car design concept could result in one team nailing it and be dominant in the first half of 2022.

      1. While that did play a factor in Mercedes being less strong, keep in mind that Honda also brought in new engines in 2021 that was far more closer to Mercedes’.

    4. With the new Encyclopedia Britannica sized rule book for 2022 and the statements from the soon to retire Ross Brawn last year. It would seem they are intent on quashing any advantages any team develops from the start.
      Also using 2021 as a template it seems likely the use of the safety car and selective use of the rules will play a big part in who ends up on top at years end.

    5. This all depends on governing, as always.

      Mercedes ran roughshod over everyone for eight years because of massive development restrictions implemented initially that hindered everyone else’s ability to catch up, essentially allowing Mercedes to parlay their initial complete dominance into an unending streak of WCC titles.

      Looking back on this era, while the FIA eased up on restrictions eventually, it took a clear-cut stick between the legs of Mercedes for the rest of the field to produce the first (and only) true competition on the track in 2021. (not counting ol’ Cheato McNotto and his Ferrari diesels here, obviously)

      So we’re entering a new era with even hard restrictions on development, but somehow the rights holder is very confident the independent sporting authority will go full 2005 on any dominant entrant.

      Will they? Won’t they? Who cares, we’ll lose either way and valuations will go up.

      1. @proesterchen

        And Mercedes had managed to convince the other teams to support an engine formula for which they already had a great design. It was very hard to take away that advantage compared to them having an aero trick that can far more easily be regulated.

        1. @aapje there’s some serious rewriting of history there, given that it was Renault that came up with the concept for the current engine regulations and was the team that pushed hardest for the current rule set, whilst it was Ferrari that insisted on switching from an inline four cylinder engine to a V6 and then persuaded the other teams to back their proposal.

          1. Indeed anon. Mercedes massively invested into the engine formula, hence producing the best engine. But they never were the instigator for such formula.
            People are tired of Mercedes winning, so they portray them as some evil destroying the sport from the inside. When, in a sport, those who win and keep winning should be celebrated.

            1. @x303
              Mercedes were against the 4 cylinder concept just like Ferrari. Norbert Haug was furious at the time when VW quit the F1 discussions after having participated in the technical workshops. Dieter Zetsche and Luca Di Montezemolo wrote a joint letter to Jean Todt with regard to the Ferrari V6 turbo concept and argued that there is no need to 4 cylinder engine because it failed its target to attract new manufacturers.

              Todt was forced to succumb to the pressure made by both Ferrari and Mercedes and the technical discussions resumed with the V6 Turbo as the development direction. Norbert Haug and Mercedes made it clear that they will accept the V6 Turbo formula if the hybrid technology is high.

              The decisive input made by Ross Brawn himself with regard to hybrid technology to his former boss Jean Todt was the jump start Mercedes have over the competition and made sure that it will last forever by badly insisting on the stupid token system that was in place from 2014 till 2016 when F1 realised that they were hijacked by Mercedes.

              Don’t forget that Daimler owned 10% of Tesla in the period between 2009 and 2014 and there was a technical partnership between the two groups with regard to an electric road car for Mercedes. Moreover, Mercedes HPP engineers were sent to Tesla for additional training once the rules have been written. To suggest that Mercedes have nothing to do with the hybrid rules is indeed history rewriting.

              People are tired of Mercedes winning, so they portray them as some evil destroying the sport from the inside. When, in a sport, those who win and keep winning should be celebrated.

              The problem is that they can’t have their cake and eat it too. When they were winning they were bragging about their engineer capabilities, German mentality… and all that crap despite sometimes being at the limit of the rules. When they face the slightest competition, then they began questioning their rivals performance and requesting clarification after clarification and sometimes alluding that they are blatantly cheating.

              Thank heaven they were exposed and showed their true colours this year by RBR who are themselves very whiny and vulgar at times but at least they don’t pretend to be gentlemen. They are the most politicized and sour losers team the sport has ever seen.

            2. @tifoso1989 – what anon and @x303 are refuting is the notion that Mercedes essentially forced through the hybrid V6 formula because they already had PU designs ready even before the formula was agreed. That is the revisionism that Aapje is fronting and it is a complete falsehood (although I’ve seen it increasingly being brought up over the past few years). What you are saying is that both Ferrari and Mercedes led the lobbying for the V6 instead of the V4 which is correct but that is hardly what Aapje is referring to. For him, it was Mercedes alone and he totally seems to forget that one of the major reasons for the switch from Renault’s preferred 4 cylinder PU was simply because one of the major advocates for it – VW – did an about-turn and opted out.

              Regarding the electric side of the PU, you are right that Mercedes had gained considerable know-how during that time. But you ignore the fact that that know-how came at a cost: electrification of F1 engines started in 2009 with KERS and Mclarent-Mercedes were one of the few teams that invested in the technology right from the start. That effort yielded poor results for a considerable part of the 2009 season and was one of the reasons why Mclaren were unable to put up much of a title defence that year. That they eventually got to reap the results later should be seen in that light.

              The problem is that they can’t have their cake and eat it too. When they were winning they were bragging about their engineer capabilities, German mentality… and all that crap despite sometimes being at the limit of the rules.

              This part of your comment doesn’t make much sense. Are you suggesting their engineering capabilities were not to be lauded? And where exactly were they bragging – all I remember is people getting angry because they’d constantly downplay themselves. Sounds like more revisionism to me.

            3. Emma,

              But you ignore the fact that that know-how came at a cost: electrification of F1 engines started in 2009 with KERS and Mclarent-Mercedes were one of the few teams that invested in the technology right from the start

              I disagree with you on this part. KERS as a standalone component and the hybrid PU are completely two different things. Mclaren Mercedes have invested in KERS, that is correct but in those years Ferrari with their partner Magneti Marelli did have the best KERS system on the grid.

              In fact this same misunderstanding has lead Luca Di Montezemolo and Stefano Domenicali to sign the hybrid rules which was the real disaster and this where they were outfoxed by Mercedes who knew exactly what was going on. Ferrari have bought into the idea that having the best KERS will result in having the best hybrid PU. Mercedes electrification know how came from their mother company Daimler and its partnership with Tesla.

              I’m not dismissing Mercedes engineering capabilities, I think they have shown brilliancy even before the hybrid era with their FRIC, DDRS systems and then dominated the championship with the combination of the best car and PU. I was answering the question about why they are disliked by almost everyone in F1 except apart from their devoted fan base.

              The reason is that they have created a narrative when they were winning in 2014-2016 that it is up to the competition to catch up and that they have done a better job than anyone else. I’m OK with that. Though when the slightest competition arrive, the gloves are off and they start to get political and question their rivals design and requesting clarifications from the FIA.

              It happened with Ferrari in 2017-2018 and with RBR in 2021. The funny thing is that Mercedes were many times at the limit of the rules. Oil burn, trick suspension… Where is the revisionism ? What historical fact am I trying to revise ?

            4. @tifoso1989 Emma put it better in words than I did, my point being that Mercedes didn’t have a prototype PU that they pushed to the FIA to be adopted. They were part of the discussions, but as you wrote Ferrari was very active on the topic and we agree that Renault was the instigator for the initial formula.
              The fact Mercedes worked with Tesla’s engineers is a credit to their leadership. I don’t see it as a bad thing. Renault has a good knowledge of how to build an electric car thanks to their links with Nissan (and Carlos Ghosn’s choice to invest in that technology). It didn’t make their PU up to the task, meaning it takes more than just putting your road car technology into your F1 PU.

              You seem to dislike Mercedes communication, I don’t but there is little interest in debating this topic as it is mostly a question of perception.

            5. @x303
              In every discussion about a potential rule change, every team will try to take advantage and push towards his own agenda. I’ve been always critical of Ferrari for being so superficial on those discussions and part of it was down to the arrogance of Luca Di Montezemolo.

              Mercedes were playing the game better than anyone else especially with Ross Brawn in charge of the discussions. They said OK to the V6 Turbo proposal of Ferrari since it represented a clean start for everyone – Ferrari at the time didn’t produce any production or racing car with that type of engine – though they insisted on the hybrid tech to be high and Ferrari bought into that idea thinking that because they have the best KERS system then they will surely have the best hybrid PU.

              I have to agree with you that Mercedes didn’t have a prototype PU before the rules were written. Though they have successfully pushed into a direction where they certainly are miles ahead of the competition. It’s just like Audi or Renault building a 4-cylinder engine or Ferrari building a V12 engine. It’s a known territory for them.

        2. Also we knew Mercedes had massive trouble with their engine in 2014 and thought it was going to be a disaster. (RF has an article on this made some years back)

          Just that when they did finally saw everyone elses’, they foundbout they were light-years ahead of everyone else.

          1. @yaru @keithcollantine I would love to know which article you’re talking about, that sounds fascinating

            1. @hahostolze, @yaru
              I think at some point of 2013, there were discussions with the teams the 2014 Pirelli tyres dimensions. In those meetings Mercedes were pushing badly for a wider rear tyre, which would better transfer the power and torque of an eventual superior engine to the track.

              From what I remember from that period is that there was an agreement between all the experts that Mercedes do have to most powerful PU by quite a margin. Some were speaking about 100 hp. Below are two articles from AMuS and Motorsport in August 2013 that suggests that Mercedes were ahead by quite a margin :

              https://www.auto-motor-und-sport.de/formel-1/neuer-v6-fuer-2014-mercedes-mit-grossem-motor-vorteil/

              https://www.motorsport.com/f1/news/report-mercedes-to-have-100hp-advantage-in-2014/438908/

    6. While I think there is likely to be at least one team who finds a novel solution which hands them an advantage, I believe there’s a good chance it could be a mid field team (or even further back) and that is more likely to lead to an extra competitor “up front” than a single team dominant. That said, there is also a good chance that Red Bull (in particular), Mercedes or Ferrari will do so and dominate at least the first half of the season.

      1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
        2nd January 2022, 13:55

        Your RBR (in particular) comment suggests you think they are the best designer but in 2021 the Mercedes narrow front nose was copied. The Mercedes wavy floor or Z floor was adopted by all the teams. The Mercedes rear suspension was copied.

        Mercedes it seems came up with all the good innovations last year.

        1. Yes, mercedes seems superior in terms of design, adrian newey is very famous but it’s been a long time since he made the best car in a season now (2013).

    7. I chose ‘strongly disagree’ based on the ‘I say’ section. Even if a single team like Mercedes (especially), RBR, or Ferrari got the new aero rules better than others, I doubt their advantage would be massive nor last well into the season.
      If the top remains close, hopefully, more teams could battle for wins & championships on merit.
      I’m most confident about Ferrari achieving this, although I don’t entirely discount Mclaren & Alpine either.
      Lower-positioned teams may have more wind tunnel time, but prize money from higher WCC finishing positions is still more important.
      Teams haven’t had a chance for long preparation, though, since work on the new car concept was banned from March 2020 until the year’s end, meaning by New Year’s Day twelve months ago, the maximum any team could’ve done was from around 2019 US GP until the COVID-caused hiatus.

    8. Then there is the question of whether F1 and the FIA are prepared to tolerate one team drawing far ahead of the competition. The FIA has regularly wielded technical directives to outlaw rules interpretations it disapproves of – if one team claims a significant advantage, don’t be surprised if new TDs appear soon after the opening rounds.

      I highly doubt it will be the case if Mercedes were the dominant team. I can imagine the public outcry of the whole Mercedes PR machine if they thought they are going to be targeted by TDs that will nullify any advantage they have over the competition.
      The FIA won’t dare to upset them especially after what they have done for a couple of incidents that were not in their favour in the whole season. This rule will only be applied if Alpine, Ferrari and to a lesser extent RBR have an advantage over the competition.

      1. @tifoso1989 Why would the FIA target any team but leave Mercedes alone? This sounds like a conspiracy theory.

        The FIA won’t dare to upset them especially after what they have done for a couple of incidents that were not in their favour in the whole season.

        Could you be more specific on this subject. You are alluding to things, but not naming them.

        All in all, I don’t see the FIA siding with one team. Brawn as stated that they would not let a single runaway with a significant advantage. They want a close field, and will clamp down any team who has and advantage deemed too significant.

        1. @x303

          Could you be more specific on this subject. You are alluding to things, but not naming them.

          Hamilton/Verstappen incidents in Brazil, Saudi Arabia and the SC situation in Abu Dhabi. Mercedes PR machine have already made damage to the F1 image with their narrative of being targeted on purpose by the FIA to take away the title from them while in the same season they benefited from the same incompetence of Masi/race stewards.

          I didn’t say that the FIA are sided with Mercedes, I said that they won’t dare take away any advantage they have over the competition because of their powerful PR machine. Otherwise, they have to deal with the public outcry which is not in their interest.

          1. Thanks for your answer @tifoso1989.
            RB ‘PR machine’ also worked hard last year, it’s just part of the game.
            The image of F1 is tainted because of the questionable/bad stewarding of recent years. It affected most of the teams.

    9. If Mercedes maintain their engine advantage and the chassis regulations are so restrictive that big performance differentiation can’t be found there, then there’s really only one outcome.

      1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
        2nd January 2022, 13:52

        Ferrari have come out and stated their new engine is giving really good gains. They also have a couple of options they are working on until the development cycle ends that gives even more power when they will choose the most reliable.

        1. Let’s hope so.

    10. The worst thing is, this is one we (as F1 fans) cannot win i am afraid.
      History would suggest at least a very clear favourite after such a rule change, which after this season would be a terrible let down.
      However, if we end up with a very close season, it will probably spell that the rulemakers really did succeed in being so prescriptive that F1 is basically in spec-series territory, which, however overused the phrase, would pretty much kill F1s DNA.

      1. @mrboerns It’s an interesting question though – what is spec-series territory?

        If 1-3 teams have a clear advantage over everyone else, we could still have a close season while the cars still enjoy technical freedom. The opposite, 10 teams being within 1 second per lap of each other, I agree would be unenjoyable.

        However looking at spec series like Formula 2, there’s still huge gulfs between proficient teams like Prema versus less-skilled ones like HWA Racelab or Trident, to the tune of multiple seconds per lap in some cases. Even in identical cars (fresh spare parts issue aside) there remains scope to setup and tune the car for considerable advantage. I can’t see this not being the case for future F1 as well. Rather than spending their way out of problems, the truly great teams will remain able to adapt their way through the 2022 regs, in ways that won’t be immediately obvious to the fans or other teams.

        If that, rather than a wildly different car design, is what gives some teams an advantage, is it really such a bad thing?

        1. @ciaran

          is it really such a bad thing?

          It depends what you watch for & what you want from it.

          For those who don’t care about or perhaps don’t understand the technical side & just want to see close & competitive racing then they perhaps wouldn’t care if it did become more of a spec series (I define spec series as been one where everyone runs the same equipment or where rules are so prescriptive that there’s little/no room for big differences in design).

          However for those of us who like the more technical side, Who like the development race, Who like seeing differences between the cars & who like following those developments from race to race then it’s potentially taking away (Or at least heavily restricting) an element of the sport which we enjoy & also one which you don’t really get anywhere else given how every other single seater/open wheel category has now gone down the spec series model (Or at least with a spec chassis).

          I think in that area the sport as a whole has become significantly more boring & less interesting the past 15-20 years. You go back & watch races from the 90s or before & even in the most junior categories like Formula Ford you had variety with multiple chassis makes been developed through each season.

          I do actually sometimes wonder where future generations of F1 car designers are going to come from given how there are now no opportunities for them learn & develop there craft by designing/developing junior formula cars as people could in the past. It’s perhaps no wonder that Adrian Newey has remained at the top of F1 in that regard for as long as he has given how those who came after him had far fewer opportunities to design or develop there own cars or come up with there own concepts to bring forward to F1.

          1. @roger-ayles
            Good point. I guess the guys from Liberty wanted to turn F1 into a Indycar-like spec series, but still allow some differences between the cars.
            As you rightly pointed out, the judgement whether it’s good or bad depends on your personal preferences. I too don’t like too restrictive regulations, as the cars will become almost identical sooner or later. However, I also think it’s necessary at the moment, because the budget cap has just started to affect the frontrunners and needs to come down to at least 100 mil. $ to create some sort of a level playingfield among F1 teams. Unfortunately, the times of small private teams challenging the big manufacturers are long gone and won’t come back the way they used to be. But with all the teams operating on a similar budget, I have still hopes that regulations will allow more technical freedom in the future, maybe even arriving with the new engine formula in 2026 or at least until the end of this decade.

            While I too enjoy watching the old cars from time to time, I feel very sorry for the backmarkers of the 80s and 90s. I mean, some of these cars were more than 6 sec off the pace, often heavily underpowered, because only a few teams could afford competitive engines. Drivers would drive the wheels off their cars only to finish P15 and 4 laps behind the leader. And some of the cars were so dominant, that only reliability issues could stop them from winning. At the 1988 San Marino GP, the McLaren MP4/4 was over 3 sec clear of Nelson Piquet’s Lotus in P3 and both McLarens also lapped everybody up to P3 in the race. That can’t be healthy for the sport at all. Luckily the cars were still pretty unreliable back then, so you got a surprise winner from time to time, which was nice to see.
            I think the key is to find the right balance between a competitive field and enough freedom for technical innovation.

    11. Neither agree nor disagree as we just don’t know yet

    12. One or two teams will likely nail the regs best, as is always the case. However the scope for “dominance” just isn’t there in these new regulations. I would prefer that this comes from budget caps rather than restrictive technical rules, but it’s still a positive.

      What’s even more likely that people will jump to absurd conclusions at the end of race 1, only to completely chuck them out the window only a few races afterward! I’ve seen this happen far too much and am expecting the worst in 2022 :)

      1. @ciaran One saving grace is that Bahrain tends to be a much better “form guide” than Melbourne, so the wild extrapolations from the first weekend’s running might be a little more grounded in reality.

        1. @red-andy Fingers crossed! No endurance layout to ruin the race this time 😁

    13. Has Massi been fired yet? Nope? Then, yes, any one team dominance will be “stamped out” by any means necessary…. …..unless it is the chosen one.

    14. Team mostly likely to fall out off the top: RBR – they really pushed for the WDC
      Team most likely to be underwhelming: Ferrari – because they almost always are
      Team most likely to be a dark horse: – Aston Martin – because they have previously boxed above their weight
      Team most likely to bring up the rear: – Alfa Romeo – Haas will improve and Williams are getting it together.

      All this is really nothing to do with the new rule changes, just previous or current form.

      1. Aston martin have no drivers, vettel is only a top driver when he has a dominant car, then he can be like hamilton, but otherwise he’s a midfield drivers; I’m one of those who criticize stroll the least but he’s not a top driver either.

    15. Absolutely no clue. On one hand, I hope for a close season with multiple drivers and teams in contention, but on the other, I don’t want to see innovation punished. I would rather see a scenario either like Brawn in 2009, where other people just have to build their own double diffuser and catch up, or DAS in 2020, where it’s allowed for the season but then illegal the year after. I don’t think I would be a fan of using technical directives to hamper dominance (unless the reason for it is because the car is actually illegal or something).

      Also the current state of the poll is the closest to a Bell Curve I’ve ever seen for a Racefans poll (usually it’s very much split between strongly agree and strongly disagree along “party lines”). It’s very satisfying.

    16. One thing is certain there will be unintended consequences from these regulation changes. Every other change has had them.

      The FIA are already talking about taking action on teams with a real advantage so the development race is negated. They seem to want racing results based on ‘driver’ skill while devaluing the team effort. That will not attract more manufacturers nor keep current ones. If successful it will inflate driver salaries as every team tries to attract the best they can afford (and driver salaries are not in the cost cap so far…but watch this space).

    17. Historically, such big chances produced one team dominating and the rest of the field catching up more or less quickly.

      But I’m more concerned by the FIA changing the rules mid season to ‘improve the show’. Closing artificially the field by altering the rules while the competition in ongoing is not a sport, but a show and F1 is supposed to be a sport. That’s the extreme performances reached by the teams that are supposed to be the spectacle.
      I understand that periods of domination are less exciting and produce less viewership (read: money), but it’s crucial to stay close to what I call a sport: competition around an agreed set of regulation. Once the competition is started, the rules shouldn’t be altered (the only exception I see here is for safety measures of course).

      1. But I’m more concerned by the FIA changing the rules mid season to ‘improve the show’.

        Why wait for mid season when they did it mid-race in 2021 (from Bahrain to Abu Dhabi).

    18. Anyone else remember 2013 and RBR concentrating on the championship over the new refs for 2014. Didn’t turn out so well. Yes I know Renault engine issues etc etc, but maybe driven by lack of focus on the new challenger? Who knows. But the end of this set of regs and they concentrate on the WDC – let’s wait and see if there is a knock on effect for the new regs years.

      I hope Ferrari are in with a chance to capitalise, looks like their focus was not really on this year, same with Alpine, AM, Alfa Romeo. Haas have publicly said they are concentrating on the new regs, Alfa Tauri and Williams are wildcards I think, AT had good performance up to the last race, because of ongoing development or just a nailed design? McLaren appear to have stopped focus on this years challenger around mid season so hopefully a statement of intent there. If anyone nails the new regs I think it will be merc, it feels like they’ve been planning for 22 the longest.

      As always, let’s wait and see! Bring on testing.

    19. Surely if ‘one team dominance’ occurs – regardless who it is, or just one or two, it’s indicative of a total failure of these rule changes? Like they’ve been talking consistently that these changes will close the field up and promote closer and more competitive racing so if only one team manages to gain a head and shoulders advantage, that plan has resoundly failed.

      Plus, single team dominance is unbearably boring regardless of who it is. I hope we get a championship where four or five teams are comfortably capable of poles and victories on merit.

    20. I think we’ll see either Red Bull or Mercedes clearly ahead (though not by much) in the first races and then catch up as the teams adopt the better strategies. It would be good to see Ferrari there too – remember when Charles Leclerc was a phenomenon?! Sainz seems to have nudged him out of top position – but their engine is likely to still be behind Mercedes and Honda in performance.
      I’d really like to see McLaren back at the front, though, with some brilliant design innovations. That would really take us back to 2009 when Brawn suddenly dethroned McLaren themselves and Ferrari.

    21. For me it all boils down to the cost cap and the testing restrictions. I think it’s most likely that one team will get things closer to right than the others and then the lack of testing and the cost cap will prevent the chasing pack from being able to close the gap.

    22. Like we had in 2021* I predict the variance in driver performance to be much bigger than the variance in intrinsic car speed.
      I therefore ‘strongly disagree’ that either Button or Barrichello could win the 2022 WDC, even if they were to pick their preferred car after pre-season testing.

      * there was only one single constructor 1-2 in 2021, and that wasn’t even Mercedes or RBR.

    23. Was 2021 not a dominant year by Mercedes? Since testing merc looked significantly ahead, then in Bahrain they were slow in Q but easily faster during the race. Mercs form was a bit up and down, it gave us a competitive season but no car drives like theirs, they were still dominant.
      It felt like 97, williams vs schumacher or 1998, when bridgestone had a massive advantage yet the championship was not that easy.

      1. I guess that based on this poll that 55% of ‘racefans’ saw Mercedes as the dominant car and 24% RBR as the dominant car ;)

      2. Nah, wouldn’t say dominant, in terms of the most competitive seasons we had recently I’d say 2018 was the best (talking about the car, then if a driver spins every race…), where I could say merc was the best car and I could say ferrari was and none would be a lie, then we have 2021, where merc had a tiny advantage overall, 2017 where mercedes was significantly faster even if there was competition, then 2019 where I’d start using the word dominant, with 2 other teams that could win races on merit, and then the 4 true dominant seasons.

    24. I wish to see Mercedes and Red Bull battling in the mid-field in 2022.. personally would like to hear less of both these teams, their drivers, and team principals for a while. I’d like to see McLaren and Ferrari battling for the championships in 2022.

      1. Unlikely I’d say, the only reason ferrari and mclaren battled for championships around the 2000s is that mercedes and red bull weren’t there yet as constructors.

    25. I guess the question is should we be concerned if one team does dominate?

      We’ve had eras of dominance before and we’ll probably have them again. The way I see it is that it’s less likely because of budget caps, but equally it’s less likely that teams will be able to catch up to any outlier because they won’t be able to spend their way back into being competitive if they’ve not come up with the right car at the beginning of any season.

      What I don’t want to see is any artificial “leveling up” if one team does hit the ground running better than everyone else. Let the designers and budget caps do their work, and let us admire those that get it right and admonish those that get it completely wrong.

    26. Impossible to say. Brawn was a one-off due to circumstances besides the rules change. Even after others implemented the DD they had enough development head start across the package to see out the season competitively.

      Mercedes took a while to get dominant as a chassis and aero team. People forgot how we joked about them qualifying up front and then fading in the races like Toyota.

      The situation feared is that a team does find a loophole that 1 the FIA does not immediately close and 2. Cannot be copied without serious chassis surgery and/or crash tests. I don’t see 1 happening and 2 is highly unlikely—-and if 2 happened 1 is less likely.

      I forsee another close season battle with Mercedes and RBR with Ferrari and possibly a dark horse like Bottas getting a couple podiums. Ferrari have two excellent seasoned drivers which would be an advantage, pending how Russell pans out. But by the end of the season it will be Hamilton v Verstappen again though I expect.

      If I gambled I might put a 20 on Bottas or Sainz for WDC.

      1. @dmw Alfa Sauber need to make a 2012-13 Lotus times 100 for Bottas to win the championship. He needs the car to be innately good in race trim, else he’ll just bottle it from pole all the time.

      2. @dmw – My only quibble is with your comment about Brawn’s diffuser advantage. “Even after others implemented the DD they had enough development head start across the package to see out the season competitively.”

        I don’t think they had a development/package advantage as much as they happened to build up a points gap that other teams just couldn’t surmount. Recall, Button won 6 of the first 7, but that was it. And only had 2 podiums after that. Meanwhile, Vettel had 5 retirements to Button’s 1 (some were definitely his own fault); a much later diffuser; and still only finished 11pts behind.

        A 20 on Bottas would be wasted, imo. Sainz, maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaybe. Bottas, no.

    27. Lots of really great discussions going on. Love-it.
      A topic that I only saw mentioned once is that of “Budget Caps”.
      In recent years, some of the mid and further back teams had technical problems but were unable to develop their way around them due to budget limitations. Now we have a cap so that could impact more teams than just those without the cash(e).
      Add in sprint qualifying and the costs go up. More races, yes more potential $ponsorship but also more costs.
      My fear is we will end up with a bunch of stagnant teams that can not develop their way up the charts and successful teams that also can not push the development due to cost cap limits. A couple of crashes and tangles with a wall or two and some teams will be in trouble.
      Will one or two teams dominate initially, definitely, and it is likely to stay that way all year.
      Last predication, there will be sand in testing and in early races …. bags of the stuff.

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