The single-seater builds on its strengths for the 2020 season, but could well hide some surprises under its hood …

We do not change a team that wins everything: this is the mantra of Mercedes in 2021. Drivers, management, technical team, stability comes first at the Brackley team. The same goes for his 2021 single-seater, restricted by technical and sporting regulations to a few modifications. But they could be important.

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At first glance, therefore, you have to play the game of 7 errors to find the differences with the W11 of 2020. The livery, always black by way of symbol of the fight against racism, evolves slightly. No more stars on the hood, but AMG acronyms, although the red star, which represents Niki Lauda, ​​is retained, and is now located near the pilot’s head. We also discover a increased presence for Ineos and its dark red: this makes sense, since the company bought 33% of the team at the end of the 2020 season.

Heavy work on the engine

Technically, the concepts introduced for several seasons are preserved, with a thin nose, high and sculpted pontoons, a large upper air intake, and a big work around the deflectors lateral. We notice however a big dent on the engine compartment : Mercedes has reviewed its hybrid system for 2021, after spotting weaknesses in 2020, especially for reliability issues.

This work on the mechanical part will be central this season, for two reasons. On the one hand, a freezing of the chassis, which will put more importance on engine developments. On the other hand, the engines will be homologated at the end of the season, and cannot be modified until the next technical regulation, in 2025. The motorists war is therefore well underway, and Mercedes remains in the lead.

Bottas’ last chance?

Otherwise, it’s hard to see who could steal the show from Mercedes this year. If the 2020 season has been exciting in terms of the races themselves, the title race very quickly turned to Lewis Hamilton’s unchallenged domination, even more than in previous seasons.

Additional pressure for Valtterri Bottas, who could live his last season for the team, both the promising George russell is approached to replace it. The Finn could therefore have his last chance to become world champion. But beating Sir Lewis to the top of his game won’t be easy …

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