James Allison on development of the W12 and looking ahead to 2022

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The Formula 1 launch season has begun, with McLaren and AlphaTauri having launched their 2021 contenders this week and more to follow in the coming days. Mercedes-AMG Petronas has yet to reveal its car, but continuing in its series of excellent interviews, technical director James Allison explains how this year’s development process has been quite different to previous ones.

With a partial development freeze in place, thanks to teams only having a limited number of ‘tokens’ to spend on updates and a number of key parts homologated back in 2020, the bulk of work has focused on adjusting to new aerodynamic rules. The most significant of these is the introduction of a tapered floor section, reducing the aerodynamic effect of the floor in a bid to reduce performance. According to Allison, the rules have been effective in cutting downforce levels, but Mercedes has concentrated significant effort on clawing back the losses.

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he is responsible for content across UKI Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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