Formula 1 managing director of motorsport Ross Brawn needed to point out to Mercedes that the new aerodynamic handicap rules could benefit the Silver Arrows if the team slips from its championship winning perch.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has publicly stated that he is against performance balancing, the Austrian a fan of the 'meritocracy' of Formula 1.
However, as Brawn pointed out to a member of the Mercedes team, the rules could swing in Mercedes' favour should another team beat it to the title.
“It was amusing really in the sense that one of the Mercedes people was complaining to me about it, and I said, ‘You’re assuming that you’re always going to win'," Brawn told motorsport.com. "Just think for a moment, you’re second or third, wouldn’t you like a bit of assistance?’
“And it suddenly dawned on him that if they didn’t win, this would be quite useful.”
The regulations, will introduce a sliding scale of wind tunnel time permitted. Having decided on a baseline figure, top teams will be permitted less time, the team finishing first in 2020, permitted just 90% of this figure in 2021, with the team finishing last granted 112.5% of the time.
For 2022, the difference is greater, with the champions receiving only 70% of the time and the backmarkers, 115%.
“I’m pleased with it, because I think it’s a gentle correction,” added Brawn. “It still maintains the meritocracy, you’ve still got to go out on the track and win the race.
“We’re not doing anything to handicap the driver when he’s out on the track – it’s not success ballast. It’s rather like the NFL with the draft, where the least successful teams get the greatest opportunity initially, but they still have to deliver. It’s not like they have points given to them.
“I think it’s an opportunity and an encouragement for the smaller teams. If you consider the very real situation of somebody investing in Williams, Williams can now quite legitimately say we have this opportunity in the future to get off the back of the grid.
“That’s a nice incentive. I think it will have a gentle effect on correcting the competitiveness of the field, without distorting it.”
Before you go...
Africa the "most important" place F1 has to go - Hamilton
Charter planes and team awnings: Meet Formula 1 2020