With many development restrictions between the 2020 Formula 1 season and the next one, due to Covid, the teams participating in the F1 championship will not be able to revolutionize their cars to the point of ‘disconnecting’ them from the past. But making improvements and making small changes will be largely possible, which is why even Ferrari, in trouble in 2020, can aspire to better aerodynamic performance.
In Maranello there will be no impactful interventions such as those that will take place for example on the McLaren, which on the new MCL35M will have a new attachment point for the suspension triangles, no longer anchored to the gearbox but to the deformable structure, and other dimensions changes due to the transition from Renault and Mercedes. However, the team led by Mattia Binotto will be able to take advantage of the possible changes of aerodynamic components. And it did so, according to the Italian daily newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, thanks to a “percentage of resources inversely proportional to their position in the constructors’ classification from 2020”.
It means that Mercedes will have 90% of the time in the wind tunnel (and CFD) available compared to the standard time, while scrolling back the ranking will increase for each team by 2.5%. Consequently, Scuderia Ferrari will have 102.5% of resources available to improve its aerodynamics, while a team like Williams will be able to dedicate 112.5%. The rule was introduced before the start of the 2020 Formula 1 season as part of initiatives taken by Liberty Media and FIA to make the starting grid more competitive.
At the time of the regulatory changes James Allison, technical director of Mercedes, had observed that “whoever will be subject to more restrictions, will have to work with great intelligence to keep up with the performance of those who will be less limited”. A remarkable rebalancing that Ferrari could have used to homogenize the results on the test bench relating to the 2021 power unit. There are no certainties but it is definitely an opportunity to recover the disadvantage if not from Mercedes, at least compared to direct competition for podium positions (McLaren, Aston Martin, Alpine).
Most of all to exploit this situation will be the second tier teams, which could find more interesting and unprecedented solutions. Other Ferrari-powered teams, such as Alfa Romeo and Haas, which in 2020 were far behind the competition, are now also waiting for a more powerful power unit and at the same time try to take advantage and gain aerodynamic performance.