Scuderia Ferrari racing director Laurent Mekies pinpoints the fact that with the introduction of the the budget cap for the 2022 Formula One season, piling on upgrades throughout the year will be a lot more difficult.
Completely new Formula 1 cars will take to the track this season as the sport returns to action at the end of February when the first pre-season testing session will take place at Circuit de Catalunya. This will be the first opportunity for fans and media to see the new generation of cars, with the fresh set of regulations, albeit restrictive, still providing teams with the chance to innovate and develop their cars during the championship.
However, Scuderia Ferrari are aware that the budget cap will play a key role in this regard. Last year, Formula One teams were restricted on how much they could spend on their chassis with the original limit of $145m now reduced to $140m for the 2022 campaign
Both figures represented a significant spending cut compared to what Ferrari were used to in the last few years. The Italian side must now spend wisely and take into consideration the limits of the buget cap, with Laurent Mekies admitting that the development drive for 2022 will be affected.
Despite the fact that Scuderia Ferrari’s upgrade plan will not be like 2021, when it was “almost nil” because the Maranello team wanted to focus mainly on its project for 2022 and the new generation of cars, the Scuderia Ferrari racing director is worried his team will not be able to introduce as many upgrades as in the previous seasons and explained:
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“If you look at 2019 or 2018, I think we will see less. In those seasons, the big teams had something new every race, or every two. It seems difficult from our point of view to have a large number of updates with the limits that exist.” – Laurent Mekies said.
This means that for Ferrari it will be very important to carefully assess what upgrades they will look to bring, agreeing with each department what is achievable considering the budget restraints. Yet given the fact that these regulations are completely new for this season, the upgrade plan could shift drastically if a major issue is noticed during the pre-season testing sessions in Barcelona and Bahrain or the early stages of the 2022 championship;
“You need to keep a few marks to develop during the season because you will learn more and more, and you have to find ways to adjust it. That’s been the biggest challenge. Once you’ve defined it that’s what you have to develop, the aerodynamics and the mechanics, so every department will say ‘okay, with that I can do these two or three updates’ and then you will schedule all your plans to make it happen. That’s what we do now. The difficulty is it depends on how competitive you are with the others. If you have a big hiccup at the start of the season and it doesn’t correlate with the rest, you can spend some of your money on two or three upgrades. You need to fix it any way you can, so you take the parts, throw it away and that’s how you will fix it.” – Scuderia Ferrari racing director Laurent Mekies concluded.
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