With the new 2021 cost cap rules, Mercedes fears that its progress will be hampered. This is after Valtteri Bottas’ crash with George Russell and Lewis Hamilton’s minor accident.
Bottas’ W12 suffered significant damage after a high speed collision with Williams’ George Russell. This turned out to be Mercedes’ first accident-related retirement since Germany 2019.
Just before Bottas’ collision, Hamilton also damaged his car after he drove into the gravel.
This is the first year that Formula 1 is running new financial regulations. Mercedes is among the few big teams that are working at the top end of these regulations. This gives them little room to improvise.
“Our car is a write-off and in a cost-cap environment that is certainly not what we needed and it’s probably going to limit the upgrades that we are able to do,” said Mercedes boss Toto Wolff.
Mercedes’ trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin explained the other set of complications that the team will face in 2021.
“The new factor for us this year is we’re all cost capped and this sort of damage isn’t really in the plan,” he said.
“Our drivers have been incredibly good at getting through seasons without breaking much in recent years.
“And certainly, in terms of the bill, carbon work and metal work, [this] will be very extensive from that.
“We’ll go through and look at what we can actually salvage and get the cars back together for Portimao but it is a concern when you have these incidents.
“If you have a series of these kinds of large accidents that are doing significant damage, and this has been bad for us, because we had a front wing with Lewis as well, then that will definitely exceed our allocation for what we have available to spend on the car.
“In an ideal world you run the [parts] to life, you don’t break them, anything you do break is end of life or something that’s about to be obsolete – but that’s definitely not the case here.
“It a factor of the cost cap that the money has got to come from somewhere and ultimately if it becomes a big problem it can start to hit your development budget so we do need to be mindful of that going forward.”
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