Mercedes expects 2022 cars to offer "relatively similar" performance to '21

Mercedes technical director Mike Elliott believes Formula 1 cars will offer a "relatively similar" level of performance this year compared to 2021 despite the overhaul of the technical regulations.

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F1 teams will unveil their new cars in the coming weeks ahead of the 2022 season that offers the most significant change to the rulebook since the start of the V6 hybrid era in 2014.

The aerodynamic regulations have been revised to allow for more wheel-to-wheel racing on track by reducing the impact of dirty air, while fewer technical freedoms have been afforded in a bid to create closer on track competition. The cars will also be heavier than in 2021, as well as switching to new 18-inch wheel rims.

The regulations were originally expected to slow the cars down by a number of seconds per lap compared to the outgoing 2021 designs. But the expected time loss has been falling as teams have completed more simulations and made more progress over the winter to regain performance.

Speaking in a video published by Mercedes explaining the changes to the technical regulations, Elliott said that he did not believe there would be a huge change in the outright performance of the cars between 2021 and 2022.

"The overall performance of the new cars is probably not going to be very different from the old [ones]," Elliott said.

"Obviously the intention of these regulations was to try and improve overtaking, and it will be a little bit of time before we can see whether that's actually happened.

"The car is a bit heavier, the power unit on the E10 fuel is going to perform slightly differently, and the way the aerodynamics are going to work and the set-up of the car that goes with it will be different as well.

"Until we get the best out of that, until we've developed that through testing and the first few races, we're not really going to know.

"But overall, I suspect the performance will be relatively similar to last year."

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FIA head of single-seaters Nikolas Tombazis said at the end of last season that he thought the time loss would be "quite close" to the 0.5 seconds that had been speculated.

"I don't know for sure because it will depend on tyres, it will depend on how much power they find on the engine as well, and the driveability part of the aerodynamics," said Tombazis.

"I am afraid I can't give an answer to that. But it's going to be in the ballpark, I think."

Mercedes will unveil its new car for the 2022 season, the W13, on 18 February, and is expected to complete an initial shakedown with the car at Silverstone as part of the launch.

Rumours emerged in recent days that Mercedes had failed a crash test with part of the new chassis, but the team has since clarified that its car passed the FIA's homologation process on 13 January.

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