Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has said that any of the 10 Formula 1 teams could win the 2022 championship, as the shake-up of the technical regulations provides a lot of scope for teams to move up or down the sport’s pecking order.
The sweeping changes – which were initially set to be introduced in 2021 but delayed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic – will see the 2022 cars looking considerably different to last season’s challengers.
The tyres will increase to 18 inches (from 13 inches) and the ground effect will return to help promote closer racing and better wheel-to-wheel action.
Most teams began prioritising their 2022 packages early last year, and smaller teams were especially quick to stop developing their 2021 cars and focus entirely on their challengers for the new era of Formula 1.
Looking ahead to the new season of racing, Wolff has said he “wouldn’t write off a single team that started development early,” such as Haas, but stressed that larger teams will still have an advantage despite the budget cap because of investments they have previously made.
“I think everything will come together because we all operate under the same budget limit,” the Mercedes boss and co-owner said in an interview with Motorsport-Total.com.
“That’s exciting. A new era is beginning,” Wolff added.
Continuing, Wolff said he is hopeful that there will be more teams capable of winning grand prix in 2022:
“I think we’ll have exciting races and more teams capable of winning. I hope the cars will be exciting.”
The Silver Arrows are scheduled to unveil their 2022 car, the W13, in just under two weeks’ time on 18 February.
Sir Lewis Hamilton is under contract to race with George Russell at Mercedes this upcoming season, though it has been speculated that the seven-time world champion is considering retiring from Formula 1 following his cruel championship defeat in December.
Last year, Red Bull test and reserve driver Alex Albon suggested that the Milton Keynes-based team could be on the backfoot in 2022 as result of them continuing to develop their 2021 car late on in the season, as they were locked in a championship battle with Mercedes.
However, senior Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko later downplayed Albon’s remarks and said he is confident they will have a strong package for the new season.