I’m not sure if this has been discussed lately at length, but I wanted to bring up the topic again.
I understand the rules of not allowing engine hardware changes during the season is to cut costs. However it’s basically made this season extremely predictable. With this we are pretty much guaranteed a Merc win every race until the end of the season, barring a failure to both cars. Hats off to Mercedes for designing the best engine, however this is not benefiting F1 as a whole. Maybe Williams will give them a run, but Nico still won the German GP by 20s. With the Red Bull era, other teams at any point in time could copy the car, and challenge them. Red Bull still managed to win because their design was either too clever, or the development too fast, for other teams to catch up. But at least there were no regulations in place to stop them. Only reason there isn’t such a huge outcry against Mercedes is because they have 2 competitive drivers that can fight each other for the lead. If Mark gave Seb the same battle I bet we wouldn’t have seen all the boo’s from the grandstands when he won.
Opening up the rules to those with money to develop faster/more efficiently might make the season even more predictable, though. In 2004, the first year of engines having to last one entire race weekend (shock horror at the time and would surely cause the drivers to go around saving the engine all race. The F2004 still broke tons of lap records.) yet development of many parts was still pretty open. Ferrari had the best car at the beginning of the season and did so at the end of the season. While the BMW and Honda engines were thought to be more powerful, they stood little chance at the might of Ferrari.
If the rules were opened up, I think the order would change little, as Mercedes would be allowed to improve their dominant engine even more. The gap might shrink, but the current gap suggests that a repeat of 2004 is more likely than a late season surge like Red Bull in the past 2 seasons.