While in the middle of the title fight, Mercedes already keeps an eye on the future of F1, and especially, the change in regulations that will be in place from the next season. While a prototype of a new generation car was unveiled in Silverstone, there is still plenty of unanswered questions on how it will affect racing.
A major topic is the impact it will have on the Drag Reduction System, introduced in 2011 to make overtaking easier, and an important asset for racing ever since. Toto Wolff talked about it ahead of the Hungarian GP, stating that he doesn't think the DRS will be fundamental for much longer, as it was studied to be an advantage in a more levelled field:
"I have said that the DRS will disappear, and I stand by what I’ve said. I think that the DRS was implemented because the cars were so efficient in terms of downforce and so equal in terms of performance that we weren’t really able to follow them."
With cars as refined and worked on like the ones competing in this season, pretty close versions of the 2020 challengers but having had spare time in the offseason for more adjustments, he added, the importance of this overtaking aid is huge, although it's still unknown if and how long for it will be needed in the next seasons:
"The DRS's effect is actually something that I have not quite understood; I think it’s an aerodynamic device, which I find quite attractive for the sport. If you can fight easier in the future, it may make the DRS obsolete, but today it’s a fantastic part of the show."
McLaren's Zak Brown as well thinks the DRS shouldn't be needed after this season on paper, but that it will have to be confirmed on track.
A lot will change in the next seasons, but not the Hungarian GP: the Hungaroring management has recently made an agreement in principle with F1 to increase the duration of the pre-existing deal with F1 by five years, keeping the circuit in the calendar until 2037.
"We are very happy with the 2037 date,” commented the Hungaroring CEO Zsolt Gyulay. “There are very good things happening in the Hungarian motorsport at the moment, and one of them is the renewal of the circuit."
The extension comes with a great renovation plan of the whole paddock, including the grandstands, and it's rumored that the layout too will be modified.
When Wolff was asked whether or not he would approve such a change for the future, he wasn't extremely pleased by the idea, but reckoned that the track management would know what's best for the Hungaroring, and that a redesign could improve the on-track fighting, while highlighting the historical importance of the Hungarian race:
"[Hungaroring] has such a competent manager with Ariane [Frank-Meulenbelt] that she knows exactly what the sport needs here and she’s been one of the great promoters of Hungaroring in Formula 1. Every track has a frozen concept, this one we’ve got coming to Hungary was the first Grand Prix in Central- Eastern Europe, the base in the city is tremendous."
"If you want to point a single negative aspect, the only one I can find among a hundred of positives, is that the overtaking opportunities are very limited with these very efficient cars, you can see that even in F3, that is running at the moment as we speaking, there’s literally no DRS overtaking. Maybe we can work on some improvements in terms of overtaking, but, in doubt, leave it like it is.”