Alfa Romeo Technical Director Jan Monchaux has said that the new rulebook for 2022 could result in some surprising shake-ups throughout the F1 field.
With the 2022 regulations representing a line in the sand, as the overhauled technical rules mean there is almost no carryover of parts designs from last year, all the teams have had to start from scratch for the new season.
This means that, for engine customer teams, there's a huge opportunity to steal a march on their suppliers, at least for the first year of the regulations.
"Yes, I would think so. I mean, on paper, it's possible." Monchaux told RacingNews365.com in an exclusive interview, when asked if Ferrari or Mercedes customer teams could beat the factory efforts.
"The rules imposed on the manufacturer [mean they have] to deliver exactly the same hardware and the same engine mode.
"If the manufacturer is also following the rules and transparent enough, I don't see why a midfield team could[n't] do an outstanding job in the first iteration compared to the established teams."
Could a Brawn GP situation happen again?
The last major regulation change, which completely altered the designs of the cars themselves, happened over the winter between 2008 and 2009, with 2008 title rivals Ferrari and McLaren falling into the midfield, while Red Bull and Brawn GP (formerly Honda and now Mercedes) stepped forward to dominate the season.
2022's regulation changes have meant a huge increase in costs for a customer team, with AlphaTauri boss Franz Tost explaining that his squad have to use all-new parts for the first year of the new regulation cycle as they can't take older Red Bull components as a result.
Monchaux doubts that a Brawn GP-like situation could emerge this season, but said that customer teams like AlphaTauri, Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, McLaren, Williams or Haas could end up being one of the surprise packages of the season.
"That [Brawn GP situation] was a peculiar case," he went on to comment.
"That domination would be very surprising. But having, all of a sudden, some cars that [are] in the midfield, irrelevant of upper part or lower part in the midfield, and doing a huge step forward at the start of the season? For me, it's fully possible."
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