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Going high rake would have “a write-off” consequence for Mercedes in 2021

Valtteri Bottas at the 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix. Credits: Daimler.

Mercedes believes that a high-rake setup on their car in order to combat downforce struggles would ruin its 2021 season.

There is speculation within the Formula 1 paddock that, while there were not many changes to the regulations in comparison to last season, the aerodynamic rules that did get introduced have a hindering impact on cars that run low-rake setups. Some of the teams that decided to run this concept were reigning champions Mercedes as well as Aston Martin, while others such as Mercedes’ strongest challenger Red Bull opted for a low-rake setting.

Mercedes trackside engineering chief Andrew Shovlin believes that this year’s aero regulations are indeed in favor of low-rake cars. However, he says it is far too late to modify this aspect of their car and that the German team needs to just continue on without worry.

“We’ve got a car that could win a championship if we make some clever decisions with it, do some good work with it and operate well over the year,” he said.

“But whether or not it’s high rake or low rake, we can’t do anything about that now. What we certainly can’t do is suddenly say we’re going to lift the rear of our car 30mm and work with that, because that would write off the season. We would lose so much in doing that – to recover it, it’s just not practical.”

“Did this set of regulations drag back low-rake cars more than high-rake cars? That may well be the case.”

“I know that they [Red Bull] won the last race [of 2020] but, generally, we were ahead at the end of the year and that’s not the case now.”

“So, either we took a bigger hit with the rules or they’ve had a faster rate of development since they applied the regulation changes. But it is what it is.”

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