You only need to have a partial interest in the sport of Formula One to know that Mercedes are very much the team to beat in this modern era.
Powered by the brilliance of drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, the German manufacturer has won the last six editions of the Constructors’ Championship and will be aiming for a magnificent seventh straight triumph when the 2020 campaign gets underway.
The engineering and technology behind their car is so advanced that they are streets ahead of their main rivals like Ferrari and Red Bull, and the only way that was likely to change any time soon would have been in the wake of the 2021 regulation changes that looked set to shake up the sport.
These new rules, devised by the chief decision-makers on the F1 board, were designed – not explicitly so, but it was tacitly taken as so – to bridge the gap between Mercedes and the rest of the construction teams, making Formula One a more competitive and unpredictable sport for the masses to enjoy.
However, the implementation of the new rules has been delayed for another year at least, and so the likelihood is that once again Mercedes will be the dominant force this season and next. As such, expect them to be a hot favourite once again in the outright Constructors’ Championship F1 betting odds for 2021.
Ferrari the Major Loser in Rule Change Delay
Given the uncertainty that has gripped the sporting calendar in the first quarter of 2020, F1 chiefs had no choice but to halt the rule changes being implemented until the 2022 season.
The introduction of a spending cap would have closed the gap between Mercedes and the rest of the field, although, that said, the German firm – while enjoying a lofty budget – is more efficient when it comes to investing in their car and staff than their rivals.
One of the main issues in terms of the proximity of the teams is that Mercedes are ahead of the curve when it comes to technological enhancements and mid-season upgrades, which keeps teams like Ferrari at arm’s length.
The new regulations would have negated such an advantage by introducing the use of some standardised components, while other parts would have to follow a prescribed design. To complete the triangle, there would also be limits on the replacement of items such as brake pads.
Again, this would have eaten into Mercedes’ clear technological advantages, and given those with the most to gain – Ferrari, principally, given that they are perennial runners-up at the moment – a huge boost.
But a stay of execution, which will keep the current 2020 regulations in place for next season too, means that Mercedes will surely continue to dominate the sport – even if Lewis Hamilton, as has been rumoured, will walk away from the team at the end of the campaign.
The F1 season is going to be an unusual affair for many reasons this year, but in the end it’s likely that normal service will be resumed as far as Mercedes are concerned.