Formula 1 world champions Mercedes say they have had an “unusual” and “intense” winter due to “significant” changes to their 2021 car, and – dealing with the sport’s new handicap rules – are eager to discover whether they have done enough to stay ahead of their rivals. With F1’s major rules overhaul delayed until 2022 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there will be plenty of carry-over from the 2020 cars for this year’s – a rare circumstance for teams and one that would seemingly aid Mercedes given their big advantage over the field last season.
“The rules are very, very different for 2021, the work we’ve had to do has been very wide-reaching,” Alisson said. “I say intense because although bits of this car has carried over, the challenge of getting it ready for a new season has been every bit as difficult as it normally is because a lot has changed. Probably the most intense and difficult thing for us is reacting to the aerodynamic changes that come for 2021.”
“The combination of those four effects, even though if you looked at all of them, you think well that’s not so much, the cars look broadly the same,” he explained. “The combination of those four effects in their rawest form just cut-off and trim back in a way that the rules require brings the performance of the car way back to sort of somewhere near 2019 levels.”
“It’s been our challenge over the weeks since those rules, the weeks, and months those rules were set in stone to try to recover as much of the performance as possible. That has been quite an entertaining ride in the wind tunnel and in CFD [Computational Fluid Dynamics] to try and make sure that we get that performance as far as possible back onto the car,” he concluded.