Formula 1‘s regulatory overhaul in 2022 could see more than half the grid in championship contention, says McLaren CEO Zak Brown.
Starting with next year’s introduction of a $145 million budget cap (decreasing to $135m the following year), F1’s technical regulations will change for 2022 in an effort to promote closer racing and even the playing field between the sport’s haves and have-nots.
For Brown, whose McLaren outfit have already made significant progress relative to the front runners, that date will mark the point at which they can completely close the gap — but will also come with increased competition.
“Ultimately our goal is to catch whoever’s in first place, and that’s been Mercedes for quite some time,” he said. “We’re certainly encouraged that we’re now racing Ferrari, because we weren’t last year and haven’t been for quite some time.
“I think in 2022 with this reset for all of us it gives us a great opportunity. That being said, Renault’s coming on strong, Racing Point is quick and just got a four-time World Champion.
“While we want to catch the, currently, two teams in front of us now I think we need to pay a lot of attention and recognise the teams four, five, six and even seven [in the standings] right now are all going to be serious contenders when the budget gap comes in.
“Everyone’s starting on a clean sheet of paper which, I think, then means we’re going to have an awesome era of Formula 1.”
Coming out of a decade which saw an unprecedented level of dominance, with only two teams – Red Bull (four) and Mercedes (six) – winning titles, McLaren was one of the most ardent proponents of F1’s equalising measures, and Brown promises they will be beneficial to fans as much as they will be to constructors.
“So in the future, we will have a sport in which more than half of the teams compete on a similar budget. That promises more variety,” he explained.
“Nothing will change with which teams win the World Championship the most. That will make up four or five teams among themselves.
“I hope McLaren will be one of the four or five teams that can win the title. But there will be eight or nine teams that can win a chaotic race with a change of weather or a crash at the start.”