Ross Brawn believes his former Mercedes Formula One team will have prepared well for 2017’s radical regulation changes and expects the triple world champions to remain at the sharpest end of the grid.
Next year will see the introduction of wider and faster F1 cars, with series bosses keen to shake up the pecking order from the last three years.
Since the last overhaul in 2014, with the introduction of 1.6-litre V6 turbocharged power units, Mercedes has steamrolled the field, securing a trio of championship doubles, 51 race wins and 56 pole positions out of 59 grands prix.
Brawn, who was at the helm of the German manufacturer’s works outfit from 2010 to 2013, believes the scope of the team’s dominance has enabled it to switch their focus to next season “very early”.
“Mercedes will have been pulling resource off this year’s programme onto next year very early, once they saw where they were with the car,” the 62-year-old said in a wide-ranging interview for the latest issue of the FIA’s AUTO magazine.
“If I was there, and I’m sure they’ve carried on a similar philosophy, I’d be saying, ‘Right, we’ve got a strong car, we can only beat ourselves, let’s get everyone onto next year’s programme’. I don’t know how many other teams could do that. Success breeds success. Mercedes will be strong next year, despite the greater emphasis on chassis.”
Sharing his opinion on the new regulations, Brawn, who has been increasingly tipped for a senior F1 management role in recent weeks, is confident these will succeed in delivering quicker and more aggressive-looking cars.
“I’ve not been involved in the process to generate these regulations. When you are involved you know them intimately. I’ve read this set broadly and they’re a big step in a certain direction.
“Outwardly they should make the cars a lot quicker. They’ll look racy, with wider track, wider tyres, and the way the wings are profiled the cars are going to look pretty exciting.
“It will be fascinating, though, as it’s putting the emphasis back on the chassis. There is a view that it was too much towards the engine, but actually I think it brought some balance.
“We went through a phase where the influence of the engine was almost neutral because everything was frozen and they were almost just a bracket between the gearbox and the chassis, whereas now people talk about the engines.”