Mercedes have warned their rivals they could face “a terribly painful year” due to the new rules implemented by Formula 1 for the 2022 season.
Chief technical officer James Allison insists some may misinterpret the new F1 rules, which are designed to increase overtaking opportunities with the cars revolutionised aerodynamically.
And Allisson believes a team could fail to address a key area of the car design and ultimately be left behind.
“Putting my fan’s hat on and trying to anticipate what we can expect when the racing starts, well, that is a difficult thing to anticipate in terms of what the pecking order will be,” Allison said in the season preview video Road to 2022: Setting the Scene for F1’s New Era.
“It’s a difficult thing to anticipate in terms of exactly how everything will play out but it’s a brilliantly exciting thing to contemplate precisely because none of us knows.
“One of the things that is the essence of sport is not knowing. All of us have done our level best, and I’m talking about everyone in our team, everyone in every other team, to try to find a design and an approach that will be a happy match to this new regulation set.
“And we’ll all get to find out together at the start of this season, in the races that unfold from there, exactly how that shakes out. I would imagine, given that the cars are so new, so different, that one or two teams on the grid would have got it really badly wrong and they will have a terribly painful year.
“I would imagine that all of us, to some degree, will have left things on the table that we just didn’t anticipate, and we will look at other cars and think ‘Oh, why didn’t we think of that?’
“And then we’ll be scrabbling around to try and get that idea onto our car as fast as possible so we can claw our way forwards from whatever position we land in that first race.
“Or, if we’re lucky enough to be in front, to keep the attacking wolves behind us. It’s going to be quite a rush and definitely going to keep us all from having too much sleep for the whole of the season.”