Various teams prematurely stopped developing the 2021 car last season. With the new technical regulations on the schedule, it seemed more sensible for various formations to shift their attention. For Ferrari, this meant that hardly any changes were made to the SF21. Despite the brand new cars next season, Mekies does not expect the development of the cars to return to the same level as for 2020. This is due to the budget cap that became active in 2021.
“You can’t compare [met 2021]. Then there was [op het gebied van ontwikkeling] almost nothing. At least it wasn’t much for us. But compared to 2018 or 2019, we are going [in 2022] also see less”, says Mekies. “In those years, almost every race was something that happened again [nieuws] set up. In any case, it sounds difficult for us to come up with a large number of updates due to the limitations we have.”
The budget last season was 145 million dollars, but has dropped to 140 million dollars (around 125 million euros) for 2022. This means that the teams in the field of further development have to be even more careful with their budget. Teams such as Mercedes, Red Bull Racing and Ferrari are particularly affected by this. They have already had to downsize their team to stay within budget.
“There has to be a budget to be able to develop during the year. You are constantly learning, so it is important to find ways to adapt to this. This was the biggest challenge,” says Mekies. “Once this is mapped out, you know what you have for aerodynamic development and what you have for mechanical development. This [bedrag] then goes to the wards. For example, the aerodynamic department says, “With this [bedrag] we are able to develop a new package two or three times’. Then you adjust your whole plan accordingly. That’s how we handle it now. The size of the challenge depends on where you stand in relation to the opponents.”
Winter tests become very important
If the car already has problems during the winter test that need to be addressed as soon as possible, this could affect the development budget. As a result, several updates that would come during the season may have to be sacrificed as a result. “If you have a big problem at the beginning of the year and nothing correlates, then you might invest money from the second or third development package. You still have to tackle the problem. This means that several parts may go straight in the trash. you deal with it.”