One of last year’s biggest Formula 1 talking points was the similarities of Racing Point’s RP20 and the Mercedes W10. With another year under its belt, the Aston Martin rebrand and a green paint job, has anything really changed?
While McLaren’s new MCL35M is very different under the skin thanks to new Mercedes power, many were left struggling to spot big changes compared to its 2020 Formula 1 challenger.
Mercedes hit the ground running when Formula 1’s turbo hybrid era began in 2014, as its W05 made perfect use of the best power unit to charge to world title glory. But rather than that initial championship being just a flash in the pan, the story of how Mercedes built on that early success with its subsequent cars offers a glimpse into how it has become dominant ever since. For while an engine advantage was a significant factor in its performance edge in 2014, the German car manufacturer has never rested on its laurels when it has been ahead.
An extremely important Formula 1 battle has been brewing away from the track in 2020, and enters its most important phase as the clock ticks past midnight on December 31. At that point, the 2021 regulations come into force and teams will be able to conduct CFD and wind tunnel work with their 2022 designs. Working on aero for the new era is something that’s been prohibited until now, even though teams have had sight of the regulations for some time.
At the end of a Formula 1 season that Mercedes quite comfortably dominated, its defeat to Red Bull in the Abu Dhabi finale prompted some intrigue from a technical standpoint.