Brawn says 'stumbling' Mercedes is 'trying too hard'


Ross Brawn says the tide is turning in F1 this season, with Mercedes slipping into the role of the chaser as Red Bull finally gains a viable upper hand over its rival.

In Styria, Max Verstappen delivered to Red Bull its fifth win of the season, a triumph that has procured a 40-point advantage to the Milton Keynes-based outfit in the Constructors' championship.

As Red Bull powers ahead and Mercedes falls behind, Brawn suggests that his former team, in its efforts to catch up with its rival, may be trying too hard.

"This is the fascinating thing about F1," Brawn wrote in his post-race column for "Sometimes you win races you shouldn’t win. Sometimes you don’t win races you should win.

"It did feel at the beginning of the year that Red Bull, who were a very slick operation, fumbled a bit. But now they are back up to speed. What looked to be the better car is now showing it in the results.

"At the beginning of the year, Mercedes outraced them. That is not the case now. It’s been the opposite in the last couple of races. Mercedes are trying too hard, and they’ve stumbled a bit."


Brawn says that Mercedes' issues are compounded by its crucial need to appropriately balance its resources as it seeks to remain competitive while not sacrificing the development of its 2022 car.

However, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said in Austria last weekend that the Brackley squad has now halted the development of its 2021 car. Brawn believes a freeze is likely given the importance of next year's project.

"It’s a very difficult year for Mercedes to come back because the focus is so strongly on next season – and the new regulations," added Brawn.

"Nothing can be done on the engine. Do they burn any resource on this car and sacrifice a bit for next year? I suspect not, as it’s so difficult to suddenly pick up the momentum on a car that you’ve probably stopped working on.

"They may try and race it more effectively, try and squeeze a bit more performance out of the set up of the car, and how it’s working, but I don’t think we’re going to see any big upgrades or big changes in the car.

"They have to squeeze a bit more juice out of the lemon without putting too much resource into it which could negatively impact next year."

Much has been said, especially in the Mercedes camp, of the impressive straight-line speed of Red Bull's RB16B, a strength Verstappen has attributed to the car's rear wing.

Brawn believes Mercedes are likely to question their own configuration but is uncertain whether they can affect change on the aero front.

"It looks like Red Bull are running a lower drag configuration, giving them a straight-line speed advantage, " added the F1 boss. "I don’t know if that is an option to Mercedes.

"Are they at the optimum? Do they question their simulations? Is the development of a new rear wing maybe the sort of project they could afford to put some resource into?

"That’s what going to be rattling around their minds until the break. Once the break is over, everyone will be committed to next year. Let’s see what happens in the next three races before the summer break."

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