Allison: Mercedes pay price for success with 2021 development limit

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Mercedes technical director James Allison has admitted that the team will “pay the price” for their recent success under the new wind tunnel and CFD regulations.

While restrictions have existed for the past few years, they are now dependent on where each team finished in the constructors’ championship in an attempt to help balance the playing field.

The Silver Arrows have won the past seven drivers’ and constructors’ titles in a row and will be aiming to make that eight ahead of the big regulation change that comes in for the 2022 season.

“We have for many years now been limited in the amount that we were allowed to use the wind tunnel and the CFD,” Allison told Mercedes’ YouTube channel. “The limit in the past has always been the same for all competitors whereas for 2021 that has changed and now we get a different allowance depending on how successful we were in the previous season.”

“Basically the last-placed team in 2020 is allowed their wind tunnel about 20% more than the first-placed team and everyone in between is on a sliding scale between that 20% and what the first-placed team gets.

“We were lucky enough to be good last year and, unfortunately, we pay the price for that a little bit in 2021 and beyond because we get to use less of that fundamental asset, the wind tunnel and the CFD computers compared to our competitors.”

Mercedes have been incredibly adept at responding to regulatory tweaks during the turbo-hybrid era and Allison revealed that the team are working out a new way to get the most out of each run in the wind tunnel and CFD calculation.

He added: “For us the challenge has been, how do we react to this new regulation in the most positive way? How can we make sure that we don’t get tripped up by it?

“There the challenge has been, if we are not allowed to use as much of our wind tunnel and our CFD as we were previously, how could we adapt our world so that we get more and more out of every single opportunity in that wind tunnel?

“If we’ve only got one run in the wind tunnel, let’s make that run as valuable to us as possible. If we are only allowed to do a small amount of CFD calculation, let’s make it so that the methodology and approach to those CFD calculations are as valuable as possible.

“We’ve tried to adapt our approach to this, so we mitigate and maybe even completely offset the effect of this reduction in the amount that we are allowed to use these fundamental tools.”