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Mercedes concerned with big crashes impacting cost cap

Valtteri Bottas’ pit stop at the Emilia Romagna GP. Credits: Daimler. Formula One – Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Emilia Romagna GP 2021. Valtteri Bottas

Mercedes officials have concerns about big incidents, like Valtteri Bottas’ in Imola, affecting the development of the team due to cost cap.

In 2021 Formula 1 has started the cost cap era, which means that the teams should not exceed the certain limit, which is $145m for this year. This includes all spheres of workflow of the teams, so they should have a strategic approach to spend money wisely.

The introduction of a cost cap makes crashes even more expensive not only because of how much money a team should spend to fix the damage, but also in terms of affecting the development strategy. Mercedes is in such a situation already after a nasty incident, which has involved Valtteri Bottas. The car has been severely damaged and the power unit is “damaged beyond repair”, according to the trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin. He has also shared the concerns about the impact this crash has made on Mercedes financially.

“The new factor for us this year is that we’re all cost capped,” Shovlin said.

“This sort of damage isn’t really in the plan. Our drivers have been incredibly good at getting through seasons without breaking much in recent years, and certainly, the bill in terms of carbon work and metal work will be very extensive from that,” he added.

“So, we’ll go through and look at what we can actually salvage and get the cars back together for Portimao. But it is quite a concern when you have these sorts of incidents.”

Andrew Shovlin also emphasized that if such incidents continued, the impact would be even more significant.

“If you have a series of this kind of large accidents that are doing significant damage, then that will definitely exceed our allocation for what we have available to spend on the parts,” Shovlin commented.

“In an ideal world you run them to life, you don’t break them, anything that you do break, hopefully it’s end of life or something that is about to be obsolete. But that is definitely not the case here. So, it is really a factor of the cost cap and the money has got to come from somewhere.”

“Ultimately if it becomes a big problem, it can start to hit your development budget. So, we do need to be mindful of that moving forward,” Shovlin said in the end.

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