The only Formula One Grand Prix events not to be won by a Mercedes driver in 2020 so far were the epic Italian GP claimed by Pierre Gasly and the 70th Anniversary of F1 Grand Prix which due to a dominant performance from Max Verstappen was one by the Red Bull racer.
TV commentators around the globe have been saying 'Thank goodness for Max Verstappen' in that the performances from the Red Bull talismanic driver have been keeping Mercedes honest at least. Unfortunately, due to aerodynamic imbalances experienced by the RB16 early in the season and Honda engine unreliability, Verstappen's challenge to the Mercedes dominance has not been able to reach its potential...yet!
Due to COVID-19 pushing the regulation changes back into 2022, all of this means that in 2021 the regulations are rather stable and as such the Mercedes dominance seen in 2020 (and several seasons prior) is likely to continue. This belief is supported by the comments of Christian Horner as announced on motorsport.com:
"There is no silver bullet," said Horner. "We need to improve across all areas of the car. So the whole team and together with Honda, we are focused on doing that."
"Mercedes has done a very good job this year: it is probably their most complete and rounded car probably of the last six or seven years for them. So they've set the bar very high but, you know, that's what we have to aim for."
Mercedes concluded the 2019 F1 season by claiming their 6th consecutive Constructors' Championship. However, Mercedes has never been a team to rest on its laurels and as such the team wasted no time looking for ways to improve their car for 2020.
Mercedes' Technical Director James Allison revealed on mercedesamgf1.com the thought process involved prior to the start of the season:
"We wanted to change aspects of the concept of the car – aspects that would be completely impossible to change within a season – to give us a more fertile platform for the new season. We tried to make a few well-chosen architectural changes to keep the development slope strong even though the regulations are now a little bit longer in the tooth."
Following these developments, the W11 has put Mercedes on course for a seventh consecutive drivers' and constructors' championship double this season. Also, barring some uncharacteristic errors from the team it is very plausible to say that Mercedes should have won all ten races of the 2020 F1 season so far – but they will have to settle for eight wins and three Mercedes' 1'2 within this.
There may be light at the end of the tunnel for Red Bull Racing fans seeing how in 2021 there is the possibility of being able to improve aerodynamics as the regulations do not prevent such modifications. Also, following the news of Honda departing F1 at the end of the 2021 season, this means the Japanese engine supplier can be fully focused on 2021 and not have its eye on future regulations. Other engine suppliers will still be having to develop the present and plan for the future - so time will tell as to whether this benefits Red Bull Racing.
One thing is clear though, Mercedes are aware that they have made errors and are eager to fix this for the Eifel GP as Mercedes' track engineering director Andrew Shovlin says on the team's official website:
"We're now looking forward to going back to the Nürburgring in two weeks; there are a number of things we could have done better in Sochi this weekend and we'll try and put them right at the Eifel GP."
Following the events of Sochi, The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team reached 366 points with their nearest challenger Red Bull Racing behind them in second place on 192 points.
This is a staggering 174-point lead in the Constructors' Championship after just 10 races.
There may well be no silver bullet to beat the Silver Arrows (temporarily black) at the moment but for the sake of Formula 1, the other teams need to at least improve their arsenal to have any chance of challenging Mercedes in 2021.