Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said they were having difficulties keeping up with the accusations Red Bull F1 have made over the legality of their car. The Milton Keynes based squad suspect Mercedes have illegal elements on their car which have boosted their performance in the last few races.
Responding to the accusations, the Mercedes team principal told The Race:
“The debates that are being kicked off or launched, I cannot follow anymore and I’ve taken the decision for myself and the team that [we should try to ignore it]. We struggle to keep up with commenting on the rumors that are being made from that side.”
One of Red Bull’s accusations was that the rear wing of the Mercedes had a flexing element hidden under its DRS flap which reduced the drag of the car during qualifying. If proven true, that could deem the Mercedes wing illegal or not in compliance with FIA norms.
Red Bull F1 have threatened to lodge their own protests, and the FIA has implemented new wing tests to monitor the “hidden element”.
In another accusation, the Red Bull F1 also believes that Mercedes might have an updated version of the DAS-dual axis steering wheel, which was banned by the FIA after the 2020 season. However, the Milton Keynes team does not have enough evidence to prove the illegality of the Silver Arrows car.
Explaining Mercedes’ performance and the accusations, Wolff said:
“The track here is less power sensitive and they’ve just done a good job. Their straightline speed with a big wing is identical to ours. I’m happy that they are happy. Let’s go to Saudi Arabia and maybe we’ll hear some comments again.”
While Mercedes say their car is completely in compliance with the regulations, their sudden surge in performance when it comes to straight-line speed is what has baffled the Milton Keynes outfit the most. The accusations grew louder post the Turkish Grand Prix and even more so after the Brazil Grand Prix weekend.
Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas summoned by stewards for ignoring yellow flags
In another headline from the paddock, Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas has been summoned by stewards for a yellow flag infringement in the Qatar Grand Prix qualifying session. The Finnish driver had not slowed down under the yellow flag nor lifted off the throttle while he was on his penultimate lap.
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Unless Mercedes back the Finn with a good argument, Bottas could be facing a three-place grid penalty, which would place him sixth on the grid for the race. The Mercedes driver was not the only one guilty of a yellow flag infringement, however. He was joined by Carlos Sainz, who has also been summoned for ignoring single yellow flags and Max Verstappen for ignoring double yellow flags ahead of the Qatar GP.