Rule changes a challenge for champions

30 January 2021 00:18:56 GMTPlus10

Mercedes technical director James Allison says continuing to dominate their rivals will be a challenge in the 2021 Formula 1 season.

A major rules overhaul has been delayed until 2022 which means that most commentators are expecting a repeat of 2020 when the new season gets underway in Bahrain at the end of March.

That would mean another Mercedes landslide - they won the Constructors' Championship by a thumping 254-point margin last season and helped Lewis Hamilton become world champion for a record-equalling seventh time.

Mercedes are hoping to confirm that Hamilton will again be their number-one driver in 2021 though the Briton is currently stalling on a new contract.

The German-owned team are clear favourites to make it an eighth straight championship but technical director Allison highlighted a couple of rule tweaks, including changes to aerodynamics and a handicap system for testing those aerodynamics depending on where teams finished in last year's rankings.

Allison believes those changes could have a significant impact on a car's speed, potentially shaking up the pecking order.

"If you are looking at this new season of 2021 and you are thinking it is just going to be a carry-over of what we saw in 2020, well, don't be fooled by anyone who is telling you that," Allison said in a Mercedes video.

"The work we have had to do has been very wide-reaching. We hope we have done enough to stay successful but as ever at this time of year we are just full of anxiety."

Mercedes are 1.16 to win the 2021 Constructors' Championship outright and Red Bull are available at 4.50.

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