George Russell suggests the cost cap and wind tunnel time needs to be “more aggressive” to reign in dominant F1 teams

Photo Credit: Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team
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Introduced in 2021, the cost cap obliges all Formula 1 teams to spend a maximum amount of $135m a season. The aim is to help the smaller teams to have a better chance against the bigger ones like Red Bull, Ferrari, and Mercedes.

Additionally, a new set of rules was put in place for 2022, regarding aerodynamic wind-tunnel testing and computational fluid dynamics time. Meaning the reigning Constructors’ Champions get the least amount of time, while the team who finished last in the previous season gets more time to test and experiment with it.

While the field is currently very compact and the margins are some of the closest ever in the sport’s history in qualifying, Red Bull with Max Verstappen has won 20 of the last 24 races. That is something Mercedes’ George Russell is very much aware of, expressing his dissatisfaction, believing the rules need to be even stricter for it to really help close up the pack.

“I think the changes that we’re seeing in the regulations with the cost cap, with the wind tunnel time, it is going to bring the field closer together, but does it need to be more aggressive?

“I don’t know, because at the moment, nobody is catching Red Bull either with these things in place, but we just need to focus on ourselves, and keep doing the best job possible,” the British driver explained in a media session in Miami.

“We need to try and bring ourselves further up the order, but also being realistic that Red Bull is a long way ahead of everybody, and it may not be until 2026 that they have a real challenge for the title.”

The first big challenge for Red Bull will come only in 2026 is an opinion we can hear from many experts, arguing the Milton Keynes-based team is too far ahead with car performance to be caught before the huge regulation changes.

But the clear dominance of one team we can see in recent years is nothing new in the world of Formula 1. Since 2010, the Constructors’ Championship has been won by either Red Bull or Mercedes, and the Drivers’ Championship hasn’t seen much variety either, with only four champions in fourteen years. The trophy was claimed by Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and the aforementioned Max Verstappen.

“When you join a team like Mercedes, we’re all here to win, and that is the same for Ferrari and McLaren as well. It was the same for Red Bull during the Mercedes dominance era, and unfortunately, this is Formula 1,” Russell acknowledged.

“You always see dominance, if you look at 30 years ago, you had Williams dominating, you had McLaren dominating, then it was Ferrari who dominated and then Red Bull, then Mercedes.”

After six rounds of the 2024 F1 season, we’ve got three different Grand Prix winners in three different cars, which is already very different to last year, where we had to wait till Round 16 of the calendar for a non-Red Bull driver to take P1 — that of course being Carlos Sainz for Ferrari in Singapore.

Now, we’ve got Verstappen, Sainz and McLaren’s Lando Norris all enjoying their race wins and the Red Bull car obviously showing some imperfections, although the Dutchman was not helped by unreliability in Australia and damage in Miami.