Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has said he is not expecting many out-of-the-box ideas from F1 designers this season due to the regulations remaining fairly stable and teams carrying over their 2020 cars due to the financial ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He also said he believes this year will be more about “marginal gains” rather than making big steps forward, for the same reasons.
“If you have completely new technical regulations, then everyone starts with a blank sheet of paper,” Wolff said.
“Then there’s a good chance that one team will score points with innovations that another team has overlooked. But in a year like this, when it’s an evolution of the existing regulations, it’s much more about the marginal gains.
“Those marginal gains are becoming a lot more important, even though they have chopped part of the floor and the consequences in terms of downforce are quite drastic.
“But you’re not talking about tenths anymore, but about hundredths that make the difference.
“That is very interesting. The search for marginal gains can be just as interesting as the search for big gains,” he added.
Mercedes and Red Bull have both been as secretive as possible with regards to their 2021 challengers, with Mercedes opting to hide the W12’s rear floor during its launch, while Red Bull have only released a limited selection of images of their new car.
However, Red Bull senior advisor Dr Helmut Marko insisted that there is nothing “mysterious” about their 2021 car, the RB16B.
“Time was a bit tight to do photoshoots. Driving was more important to us than taking photos,” Dr Marko said.
“We have nothing mysterious on the car. No six wheels, no fan in the rear either.
“The car is a consistent further development of last year’s model. The goal is to be able to compete for victories right from the start.
“At the first tests in Bahrain we will run all the parts on the car that will also be used at the season debut.
“We know fuel quantities and engine settings are played with during the tests. Therefore, the true potential will only be seen at the first race,” the Austrian added.