The quintessential slogan of energy drinks is that “Red Bull gives you wings” that was repeated for some time on television, usually in the breaks of a competition sponsored by the Austrian company. However, the Red Buffalo brand’s Formula 1 team has taken this motto to another level, making it the focus of this season’s debate. Specifically, the component in question is the rear wing of the car with which Max Verstappen leads the general drivers’ table for the first time in his life, and the structure of Milton Keynes that of teams, something that he had not achieved for eight (2013). ). The controversy that has caused tension to skyrocket in Baku, where this Sunday (2:00 p.m., Dazn and Movistar F1) Charles Leclerc will start from the pole, with Carlos Sainz, fifth and Fernando Alonso, ninth, is the level of flexibility that Mercedes detected in Red Bull’s rear wings as it passed through the Montmeló straight, on Sunday of the Spanish Grand Prix (May 9) .
At the end of the test, which Lewis Hamilton won after a close pulse with Verstappen, the Briton accused of having detected that the rear plane of his rival’s car flexed backwards and downwards, due to the force of the air, an effect specifically prohibited by regulation. What happens is that the commissioners of the International Automobile Federation (FIA) cannot decree a part as illegal unless the tests to which they submit it certify it. So far, the tests agree with Red Bull, since the verifications do not reveal that the component flexes more than the three millimeters allowed, when certain forces are applied. However, the television images taken at the Circuit are so explicit that the FIA has already warned all teams of the introduction of new control measures, with the application of charges on the parts, which will come into force at the Grand Prix of France, scheduled for two weeks from now. Until then, both Red Bull and the rest of the structures that have claimed to have explored that path (Ferrari, Alpine, Alfa Romeo) enjoy a grace period that has angered those who, such as Mercedes and McLaren, consider themselves to be harmed by complying with the rules.
“Delaying the introduction of the new tests leaves us in a legal vacuum that could motivate the presentation of claims”, denounced Toto Wolff, top leader of the Mercedes F1 division, a couple of weeks ago, in Monaco. “I understand that if there are two races in a row, or two races in three weeks, there is no time. But there is plenty of it until Baku ”, continued the Austrian, in the same vein as McLaren. “From our perspective, if flexibility rates similar to those seen in Barcelona are seen again here in Baku, there should be immediate action, already this weekend,” asks Andreas Seidl, team leader from Woking (Great Britain). , from Azerbaijan. “We are satisfied with the new measures that the FIA will implement, but not with the fact that there are those who still take advantage of the current situation for several races,” adds the executive, who, like Mercedes, does not rule out filing a claim if the The issue is still raging in Baku. From Alpine it stands out that the flexibility of these ailerons responds more to a desire to reduce the weight of the single-seaters. “Especially at the back, in order to make the set less resistant to advance”, says Marcin Budkowski, executive director of the French formation.
And what does Red Bull say about all this? Well, he counterattacks and focuses his target on Mercedes, with whom the title may be played. “There has been a lot of buzz, largely motivated by Mercedes. But, ultimately, the car complies with the regulations because it passes all the tests, so it is legal ”, says Christian Horner, its director. “I, if I was Toto, would keep my mouth shut after seeing the front wing that their cars carry,” the Briton attacks.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.