Mercedes technical director James Allison has said the reigning champions are already thinking "very seriously" about the 2022 Formula 1 regulation changes.
Only McLaren has launched its car for the coming season but already the thoughts of the paddock have turned to the raft of aerodynamic regulation changes that will come into force next year.
Mercedes will launch the W12 on March 2, the same day Alpine will unveil the A521, but Allison conceded the team is already considering the '22 changes.
"We’re already starting to think very seriously about 2022," he said. "Next year brings a complete revolution in the technical regulations of the car.
"The sort of things we have seen racing for the last few seasons will be dead and gone at the end of this year, replaced instead by a new generation of car, which has a completely different technical objective - to try and make the racing closer, by making the lead car damage the performance of the trailing car less."
For Mercedes, however, with the team likely to be in the mix for an eighth consecutive drivers' and constructors' championship double, the team will attempt to balance the simultaneous development of the two cars.
This challenge is made more difficult by the introduction of a $145million [£119m] budget cap.
Allison added: "This change is so large and the cars so different, that we are going to have to spend a large part of our technical resource during 2021 in order to make sure that we are ready, with a good car that can then see us in decent shape for the years that follow in 2022 and beyond.
"So, we are busy doing that, in a world where we are cost capped, where we haven’t yet started racing in 2021 and where we have to manage our total resource so that we can have an effective campaign in 2021, whilst also building for the future and this exciting new set of 2022 regulations."
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