McLaren CEO Zak Brown says he would be “very surprised” if 2022 ends up being a season dominated by one team under Formula 1’s new technical regulations.
For the first time in nine years, F1 witnessed a title fight between two different teams in 2021 as Red Bull and Mercedes fought for both championships until the final round in Abu Dhabi.
Max Verstappen’s world championship victory over Lewis Hamilton ended Mercedes’ run of dominance in the V6 hybrid era, having won seven title doubles on the bounce since 2014.
But after one of the most intense title battles in years, F1 is undergoing a major rules reset for this year that sees the re-introduction of ground effect and new 18-inch tyres.
While it is hoped the changes will create better racing, there are also fears it could lead to the grid being spread out if one or more teams get on top of the new regulations quicker than others.
Brown, however, doesn’t see this season playing out that way, anticipating the field to be as competitive as last year.
“I’d be very surprised if next year was a boring campaign with the new cars,” Brown said, as quoted by Motorsport.com.
“I think you’ll get some winners and losers and some surprises. I’d be surprised if there was dominance.
“You could get a team who is maybe dominant for a small period of time like Brawn was when they figured out something in 2009.
“But I think with the cost cap now in place, you can feel the tension that is put on the teams who stopped developing this car in expensive of next year, etc.
“I’d be surprised if the field didn’t continue to get closer.”
Despite slipping to fourth place in the constructors’ championship, McLaren ended a nine-year wait to secure a win after Daniel Ricciardo’s victory at last year’s Italian Grand Prix.
Given the aim of F1’s new rules is to produce closer racing, Brown hopes to see “three or four cars” being in the title hunt by the last race in 2022.
“My hopes are that we go into Abu Dhabi next year with three or four cars who can compete for the championship, I think that’s the ultimate goal,” Brown added.
“I think this year has been spectacular, up and down the grid, and I hope with what has been put in place and the new car designs, and the intent of the new aerodynamic package, that what we’re seeing now is just a taste of the future.”