McLaren will still be allowed to switch to Mercedes power units in 2021 despite Formula 1 teams agreeing to postpone the new technical regulations by a year.
2021 was due to mark the introduction of radical new regulations designed to improve the ability of cars to follow while also lowering budgets, as the change would coincide with new financial regulations. However, the initial development of the cars is vastly expensive, and with the industry virtually in lockdown – along with most of the world – due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was agreed last week to use the current chassis next year and push the new cars back to 2022.
Despite that change, McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl says concessions have been made to allow changes to the team’s chassis to incorporate a different power unit.
“From the outset, we have been a leading supporter of the new sporting and technical regulations for 2021,” Seidl said. “They present the opportunity to deliver an exciting new era for Formula 1. Nevertheless, there is no escaping the severity of the pressures faced by the sport right now. In the same way that decision to introduce the new regulations was aimed at improving the long-term health of Formula 1, the decision to postpone them has been made in the same vein.
“We support the postponement and have played an active part in the conversation around doing so. We recognize that it is crucial to protect the financial health of all the teams while ensuring a level playing field when we do go racing.
“Furthermore, this decision does not impact our change to Mercedes power units in 2021, and we will be allowed to make the necessary changes to our car to accommodate this.”
CEO Zak Brown said the decision to make such a change to the regulations was necessary to help F1 try and survive the current global situation.
“We’ve been totally supportive of these changes and have a proactive role in implementing them,” Brown said. “Together with the FIA, Formula 1 and the other teams, we’ve been proposing a number of ideas that help to protect the sport we all love while keeping our team, fans and wider F1 community safe.
“We have a huge responsibility not only to our people, but the wider F1 community, and as custodians of the sport it is essential we work together to overcome the challenges we face.”