McLaren managing director Zak Brown hopes a major rule change for 2022 will lead to more even competition in which teams will need to win fewer races in a season to become champions, which is the complete opposite scenario of current Mercedes dominance.
Mercedes has won all drivers’ and constructors’ titles since 2014 and the only two seasons in which they did not win the vast majority of races were 2017 (12 wins in 20 races) and 2018 (11 wins in 21 races).
Last season, Mercedes’ dominance returned to 2014-2016 levels and in the first races they had a huge advantage over the competition, winning a total of 14 of the 17 races of the shortened season.
McLaren’s Brown hopes that the new rules for 2022, which include a budget cap that will take effect this year, will result in more even competition and that we will have more different winners.
“The new era of Formula 1 is coming at the right time,” Brown told Motorsport-Total.
“The budget limit [at $ 145 million] will hit us too, but not like the three big teams [Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari] that spend significantly more than us.”
“The distribution of income doesn’t make a big difference to us, but it will make the sport more competitive. Now we have the opportunity to be a great team, but it also brings us more competition from behind.”
“We have a better chance of catching up with rivals ahead of us, but at the same time we have to be careful because seven teams could work with a maximum budget.”
“AlphaTauri is a very well-equipped team. Lawrence Stroll is investing a lot of money in his team [Aston Martin]. And there’s Renault [rebranded as Alpine from 2021] which are probably at our level.”
“We have seven teams all playing with a racket of the same size and that’s great. I don’t just think we’re going to have a better chance of finishing first or second. I think it’s going to be a race between seven teams.”
Brown hopes Formula 1 will become similar to IndyCar where teams are much more evenly matched and where big teams also win titles but smaller teams also win races.
“It would be great if you could win the championship again with three or four wins in a season, not 14,” Brown concluded.
The last very competitive season in which world champion Vettel had just five wins in 20 races happened in 2012 when as many as eight different drivers from six teams won the races, and Red Bull won only seven of 20 races as the constructors’ champions.
Alonso was the runner-up that season with just three points less than Vettel even though he won just three of 20 races, but finished on the podium 13 times.