Formula 1 was not in the best place during the turbo-hybrid era. Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes just kept winning races with little to no challenge except from his former teammate, Nico Rosberg (who beat him in the same machinery don’t you know?). That might’ve been fantastic for Mercedes, but for fans, it was monotonous, predictable, and boring. Formula 1 have addressed these issues with the new cost cap and aero regulations, which according to Mercedes team principal, Toto Wolff, is enough to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
When speaking to the media, Wolff said that, “I think you just need to play a better game than the others. It’s a relative competition, and we know who our competitors are today, there will be others tomorrow and after tomorrow because of the cost cap limits that have been set, and this is what the sport should be, not one team, but maybe five [in title contention], and the landscape has changed.
“I don’t think that anybody will run away with eight championships in a row going forward, and this is the way the regulations have been designed.”
Does the budget cap and limited wind tunnel time mean that it’s more difficult for teams to catch up to the leaders over the course of a season? Wolff believes so, but the allowances of greater wind tunnel time to those who finish toward the back may be able to shrink the gap over time.
“I think it’s harder because you can’t really invest more in order for the outcome to come quicker,” said Wolff. “But I think how the aerodynamic regulations are designed, and the penalty that they’ve gotten, it’s 25 percent less wind tunnel [time] and that can have an effect.
“The way that the regulations, the wind tunnel or ATR restrictions, have been set in place allows teams that are further back to really make a big jump compared to the front runners. That’s also the reason why we will see much closer championships in the future because if you are last, you will have 50 percent more, 40 percent more. So, clearly that is an advantage we have to utilise. Is it a given that we can utilise it? Who knows?”
With breaches of the cost cap having punishments affecting things like wind tunnel time, it will negatively affect those teams that do try to out-invest the competition to make the most gains. Whether the new regulations have the intended effect, we will have to wait and see, but Wolff seems confident.
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