Mercedes won't develop current F1 car despite trailing in title race


Toto Wolff says that Mercedes won't bring any major updates to this year's W12 so it can focus on its 2022 car — even though Red Bull has won the last three races


Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas will have to chase down red Bull without any major updates


Mercedes will not make more major upgrades to this year’s F1 car, despite the risk that Red Bull will pull away in the championship.

The team has shifted most of its development resources to next year’s car and has no plans to change that decision, despite Red Bull seizing the momentum in this year’s title race.

Team principal Toto Wolff said that the team saw F1 as a “sporting war that goes long” and wanted to build an enduring advantage under new regulations that are being introduced next year.

The new technical rules require all-new cars. Combined with the introduction of a budget cap, this has forced teams to choose between developing this year’s entries or concentrating resources on their 2022 designs, which will form the basis of their cars for several years.

Wolff previously said that it was only planning “tiny tweaks” to this year’s W12. Speaking to Martin Brundle on Sky Sports, he was asked whether Mercedes would have to change that decision following three red Bull victories in a row.

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“No, actually not because we believe that this is a sporting war that goes long,” Wolff replied. “It’s not a single race or a single season. Next year’s regulations gonna go for many years and the development slope is very steep so you need to weigh up the two.”

“So that’s it, you run what you brung?” asked Brundle.

“Pretty much. There’s details that are coming but we’re not bringing front wings,” Wolff replied.

Ferrari and Haas have also shifted attention to next year’s car but the sniff of title victory means that Red Bull is continuing work on its current challenger until the summer break.

“Theoretically, capabilities will then be put on to the new development of the 2022 car,” Helmut Marko, Red Bull’s motor sport advisor said in April.

Marko was sceptical that Mercedes would ignore a tight championship battle, saying: “if we both continue to be so close together, I believe that neither Mercedes and certainly not us will back down anywhere in development.”