Red Bull denies complaint over Mercedes front wing

© XPB 

Helmut Marko has downplayed reports that Red Bull formally requested the FIA to investigate the legality of Mercedes' new front wing design.

However, the Austrian’s comments suggest lingering suspicions within the Red Bull camp, not only regarding Mercedes, but also with respect to McLaren and Ferrari’s front wing aero components.

In all cases, according to a report from Germany’s Auto, Motor und Sport, Red Bull suspects that its rivals’ wings might be exceeding their permissible level of flexibility as imposed by the FIA, therefore potentially granting an aerodynamic advantage.

Mercedes has shown a marked improvement in performance since introducing a revised front wing at the Monaco Grand Prix.

The Brackley squad’s upswing culminated in their strongest showing of the season at the Canadian Grand Prix, where George Russell secured their first pole position and podium finish of the year.

Lewis Hamilton also managed a creditable fourth place in Montreal, his best result so far in 2024.

But Mercedes’ progress of late has reportedly raised eyebrows at Red Bull, and the reigning world champions are reportedly harboring concerns about the W15’s new front wing design, hinting at a potential return of the "flexi-wing" saga that has plagued F1 in the past.

When questioned about a formal complaint to the FIA, Marko offered a rather nuanced response.

“You can’t say that,” he told Austrian website OE24. “They have a new front wing, and on the TV pictures from Montreal you can clearly see that Russell and Hamilton’s wings are bending noticeably.

“However, the wings had the necessary strength when they were approved. That doesn’t surprise me.

“I don’t know how often we had to check our wings. There is a precisely defined procedure with weights under which a wing must not bend.

“It is a popular game of pushing everything to the limit so that it passes the technical inspection. During the race, the wing then lowers, which ensures better aerodynamics.”

Marko’s comments clearly reflect Red Bull’s skepticism regarding the legality of Mercedes’ front wing elements in terms of their flexible nature.

But they especially highlight the intense competition and scrutiny between Red Bull and its direct rivals who have been snapping at the heels of the bulls this season and even defeating the latter in Melbourne and in Miami.

George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15. 08.06.2024. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 9, Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal, Canada, Qualifying Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Batchelor / XPB Images

Whether these concerns translate into further action remains to be seen, but the situation adds another layer of intrigue to the ongoing championship fight.

Marko believes teams will be subjected to fresh FIA checks at F1’s upcoming events, starting this weekend in Spain.

“It has come up again and again when the deformation was clearly visible in the television images,” he added.

“Everything was OK in Montreal. There is a new inspection for Barcelona and Spielberg etc., and it has to be OK again. Of course, the competition is looking at that critically, not just us.”

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