The new technical regulations will apply from the season of 2022 onwards, meaning the design of the F1 cars will change to an extent. The shift is mainly in the downforce, moving from surface-generated downforce to more ground-effect driven concept will hopefully improve the possibility to race and overtake other cars, something that we didn’t see that much in the past couple of years. The technical changes in the regulations also come at the same time as the budget cap - a topic discussed by many inside and outside the sport. As a reminder, the budget cap is supposed to reduce the spendings of teams, to make it more equal between everybody. These changes also come with the change in the prize money structure, that has been favouring the big instead of helping smaller teams. All of these advancements were brought up as a way to make F1 more of an equal playing field for everybody.
Toto Wolff, the team boss of Mercedes F1 team has said before that the new regulations are designed to stop the dominance of his team, saying that “everything has been done to stop us”. But Max Verstappen, the only regular threat to the Mercedes drivers believes these new regulations are in no way designed to stop Mercedes. As he argues, these technological changes are vital in order to make the sport more interesting.
As he said in a recent interview: "No, I think those rules are just the result of new owners listening to teams and drivers. They hear that it is really difficult to overtake and that we want more close racing. You could see the current issues at Imola for example. Valtteri drove around with a car that was three to four tenths slower because of the damage, but I couldn’t get past him. Even though I was much faster, you could see that once I did get past him. We have to find a solution for that.”
Verstappen believes that what F1 is missing is the factor of unpredictability as we’ve seen in this years MotoGP season. He hopes the new regulations will help to make the qualifying less “important” in the future, which could help bring this unpredictability into the sport.
As he said: "We need the racing in F1 to be more exciting and drivers to be able to follow other cars more closely and not that qualifying is the deciding factor during a race weekend as it is right now. Take a look at the MotoGP championship for example. Even if you qualify tenth, you can still win the race. That hardly happens in Formula 1, just because it's so difficult to follow other cars at most of our circuits. I think that's why the new regulations are coming in from 2022 onwards. And whether those new rules will slow Mercedes down or not, you can't even say that at this moment."
Will the new regulations bring this much improvement? Or are they gonna turn out to be just another cosmetic improvement, that is not going to change a whole lot? These new regulations were first destined to be effective from 2021, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they were postponed till 2022, which means there is still one whole season ahead of us before they apply.