While Red Bull officials say that it’s too early to consider protesting against Mercedes, there is concern about the “incredible” straightline speed Mercedes was producing during Sunday’s Formula 1 race in Brazil.
“We need to look at where that speed comes from,” said Red Bull team principal Christian Horner. “It’s not normal and we need to look at it, but it’s too early to protest.”
Lewis Hamilton, who closed his points deficit to Max Verstappen from 19 to 14 points with his win on Sunday, had his Friday pole position taken away for a breach of the DRS rules. Red Bull also suspects that Mercedes’ rear wing overly flexes.
Hamilton had no trouble overcoming a five-place grid penalty for an engine change in Brazil.
“That would be our very last resort,” said Red Bull consultant Helmut Marko when asked if a protest is now on the cards. “First we would try to have the parts that we believe are not compliant changed. But we do not yet have enough facts to be able to proceed.”
Marko said Mercedes has pulled off producing a rocket of a new engine for Hamilton to tackle the final races. And Marko added that where that speed is coming from is a “mystery to us. “With us, a new engine brings three to five kilowatts. Hamilton’s new engine brings a good 15. Mercedes says they have an insane amount of engine wear, but that won’t help us because then the championship will be over.
“Now we are trying to understand how everything works.”
Marko said his preference would be a new technical directive relating to rear wing flexibility, while Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said the FIA could disassemble the wing into “a hundred parts” and still find nothing illegal.
“One directive appeared after Mercedes’ request at the start of the season, so we can influence the emergence of a new one,” Marko said.
For his part, Mercedes’ Hamilton was also slapped with a fine for undoing his seatbelts on the celebration lap at Interlagos.
“I wouldn’t say it’s revenge, that’s not my style,” the seven time world champion said after winning on Sunday. “But there did seem to be many forces that were against us this weekend and we just fought on as a team,” he told the Spanish broadcaster DAZN.
“This is what a world championship battle should look like.”