Former Formula 1 driver Martin Brundle has suggested that the new technical regulations introduced this year could well cause separation between teams.
A ground effect-led aerodynamic concept has been adopted this year, meaning a significantly reduced number of aerodynamic parts on the cars, while the tyres have increased to 18 inches in size to facilitate closer racing.
The fuel blend in the engines has also been altered as part of F1’s sustainability push, and the power units are expected to generate 20 fewer horsepower compared to last season.
Brundle predicts that the field will be slightly divided initially, but said that teams will find ways to reduce the disparity should they fall behind.
“A massive change of regulations like this tends to scatter the pack a little bit,” Brundle told Sky News.
“There are the haves and have-nots and then they will start moving back together. It’s the law of diminishing returns.
“If your car is working really well then the other teams will be able to copy and catch up, and innovate.”
George Russell has signed with Mercedes to partner Sir Lewis Hamilton this year, while the emergence of McLaren’s Lando Norris and the Ferrari pairing of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz has given F1 fans a lot to grin about during pre-season.
The 62-year-old is enthused by what is expected to be an enthralling battle.
“After such a sterling 2021, we have to be a little bit patient but the early signs are good,” he added.
“We’ve got some brilliant drivers on the grid with experienced World Champions alongside a lot of fresh blood and new talent who are trying to steal the crown.”
All of these changes come after a controversial 2021 campaign at the end of which Hamilton was cruelly denied his eighth world championship following a controversial Safety Car restart by race director Michael Masi led to a dramatic last lap overtake from Max Verstappen to seal his first title.
The Briton would then take a lengthy sabbatical from social media to brush off the disappointment, but has vowed to return stronger than ever and continue his magnificent form of the latter stages of last year in which he won three of the final four races.
“If you think that what you saw of me at the end of last year was my best, wait till you see this year,” he said in a press conference after the unveiling of the W13.
“I am putting every ounce of my energy and time into making sure that I’m the best you have ever seen.”
Another former 1 driver and Brundle’s Sky colleague, Johnny Herbert, reckons that Mercedes will be angling their budget towards ensuring the 37-year-old gets his hands on a record eighth championship.
“I think Mercedes did so well last year because of the budget cap coming into effect, that’s really something that they didn’t spend so much [on] last year,” he said.
“I think their big upgrade was at Silverstone, Red Bull seemed to do one more or less [at] every race we went to.
“So maybe there’s going to be that, pushing that budget towards what they’re going to be using this year, and I think Mercedes, I think it could happen again for Lewis.”