Mercedes explain F1 2022 car 'landmines' and predict 'painful' seasons due to new regulations
Mercedes technical director James Allison explains the challenges ahead in detail as Formula 1 prepares for one of the biggest rule and car changes in history; Allison says Mercedes are determined to prove they haven't been 'lucky' for the last eight years
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 25/01/22 4:00pm
Mercedes say the vast F1 rule changes for 2022 are fraught with "jeopardy" and "landmines" but also insist they are enthused by the opportunity to prove they haven't been "lucky" with their previous title-winning cars.
Explaining the new regulations and the challenges ahead in detail, technical director James Allison also predicted that some teams will have got their preparations "badly wrong" and will have a "terribly painful" season.
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The cars and their aerodynamics have been completely overhauled for this year as F1 bids for closer, more competitive and exciting racing.
Allison said the scale of the changes "dwarf anything else I've ever seen" and that the team have redesigned the car "from tip to toe".
"The ruleset is not only enormous - the regulations are about twice the size of what's preceded them - but they're all almost entirely different from what came before them," Allison said in a Mercedes preview video for 2022.
"That has meant we've had to redesign the car from tip to toe, everywhere you look it's completely new.
"Not just new as in new parts, but new as in new philosophy, completely new aerodynamic package, different brakes, different wheels and different tyres."
Mercedes, like all teams, have been working on the new cars for years and Allison admitted a "hard and very challenging process". He also explained why there were potential for "landmines", but also "treasure".
"When the regulations change in such large measure as these ones, then we approach that with all the fun and relish that challenge deserves because our job is to look for technical opportunity in regulations, then use our combined wit and skill, and all the effort we make collectively to try to find a configuration of car that will be better than anyone else's approach to it," he said.
When are the new cars revealed?
|February 10||Aston Martin|
|Six teams TBC|
"And when everything is as new as this, then everywhere you look in that regulation set - twice as thick as the old one - there is opportunity and, of course, there's jeopardy.
"So we try to pick our way through the potential minefield, picking up all the little boxes of treasure that may be set in amongst the landmines to end up with a car we hope will see us pitching up at the front of the grid."
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Mercedes have enjoyed an unprecedented run of eight straight constructors' titles since acing the sport's last major rules reset in 2014, and say they are relishing the challenge of proving themselves again.
"It's not unique to Mercedes to be excited about the regulation set but it is something I can speak of with personal experience that we do love it when new regulations come along," said Allison.
"We see it as an opportunity that we haven't just been lucky over the years, we haven't merely stumbled into a formula and a God-given right to be dominant all these last seasons.
"We see every single regulation change as an opportunity to pit our wits against them and see whether we deserve to be competitive against them, to see whether or not we can show afresh that we've understood the physics behind the car, that we've just tried to translate that into designs and concepts, realising in manufacturing, and then deliver to the track in a way that allows us to be competitive once more."
Inevitably, not every team will be happy with their work once the cars hit the track. And Allison believes there will be some very tough seasons for some, while he also stated that teams will end up learning from each other.
"I would imagine, given that the cars are so new and so different, that one or two cars on the grid will have got it really badly wrong, and they will have a terribly painful year," he said.
"I would imagine that all of us to some degree will have left things on the table that we just didn't anticipate, and we will look at other cars and think, why didn't we think of that?
"And then we'll be scrambling around to try and get that idea onto our car as far as possible, so that we can claw our way forward, or if we are in front, to keep the attacking wolves behind us."
The first F1 car launch is currently set for February 10, with Mercedes revealing their W13 on February 18. The first pre-season test begins on February 23 in Barcelona, with the season under way on March 20.