Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is predicting that five or six teams could be in contention for race wins in the near future in Formula 1, thanks to the changes being made both to technical regulations and financial budget caps.
The 2022 season gets underway in mid-March with the Bahrain Grand Prix, whilst February sees the new campaign really draw into focus with the new cars being unveiled and testing getting going.
Indeed, the new car launches this year are going to be full of intrigue and interest given we’ll be looking at completely overhauled machinery, with the new rules backed with the intent of generating closer racing up and down the pack and an increased opportunity for new race winners, rather than the usual suspects that we’ve seen in the last half dozen or so years.
Of course, it is Mercedes that have dominated most of all with them winning eight straight Constructors’ crowns and seven straight Drivers’ titles in the turbo-hybrid era, and they’ll be looking to try and maintain that in the sport’s next generation.
Toto Wolff, though, is suggesting that with the budget cap and new technical guidance, things are going to close right up and get more competitive – which can only be a good thing:
“I believe that the budget cap will bring a lot of things into line,” Wolff told Auto Motor und Sport.
“If one finds a loophole and runs away with it, everyone will copy it. The cars will all be very similar. There may still be differences in the first year.
“After that it will even out. There will no longer be a team that is a second ahead.
“Of course, the teams that had deep pockets were not particularly happy about the fact that an advantage was taken away from us.
“But the whole thing degenerated into an arms race between Red Bull, Ferrari and us. Now it will all be more balanced.
“I think that in the future, five or six teams will be in contention for victories. That is good for the sport. Also, the same team doesn’t always win the Superbowl.”
Wolff would undoubtedly like to see Mercedes remain the dominant force in the sport but last year showed just how more exciting Formula 1 is when there’s more than one party at the race-winning table.
If we can add even more spots to that in the future, then, the sport will be in a very healthy place.