June 25, (THEWILL) – In the competition for lead racing on the Formula 1 circuit for the 2021 season, Red Bull has upped the ante to put pressure on last season’s winners Mercedes that the battle has shifted to race car wing design checks which Red Bull’s Max Verstappen holds must be balanced for both challengers.
THEWILL recalls that after last month’s Spanish Grand Prix, Mercedes record-setting driver, Sir Lewis Hamilton, had complained to the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the racing governing body, that Red Bull was running a “bendy wing” on the rear of their car.
This resulted in the FIA clamping down on the rule loophole by introducing new rigidity tests from the GP in France onwards. It was a rule that specifically seemed to target the Red Bull cars and which appeared to claim that it gave Verstappen and co-Red Bull driver, Sergio Perez, an unfair advantage.
However, even after the rule clampdown, Red Bull drivers were unhindered in terms of performance in France. As THEWILL reported, Verstappen scored his third victory of the season, effectively extending his lead over Hamilton at the top of the drivers’ championship to 12 points so far.
And now, Red Bull is hitting back at Mercedes in the debate about flexi-wings. They hold that if their rear wings are facing scrutiny then the front wings of the Mercedes W12 ought to be looked at with the same attention to details for a fair and balanced overview of sticking to the rules.
The question was initially raised by Christian Horner, who is the team principal of the Red Bull racing unit. He wanted to know why, in France, the FIA’s rigidity tests did not also apply to the front wing, saying the team would “assume at some point they will do the same to the front of the car.”
The leading racer of the season, Red Bull’s Verstappen said ahead of this weekend’s Styrian Grand Prix that the win in France “showed that everything has been dealt with correctly” by Red Bull before pointing fingers at Mercedes to argue that the tests should be extended to the front wing too.
He agreed with his team principal that: “I do think when you are checking the rear wing, you should also be checking the front wing.
“Because I think the front wing has a bigger effect on the car. It’s up to the FIA now of course to do these checks. Clearly, they have done the checks on the rear wing, so it’s up to them.”
It was no surprise that his Red Bull teammate Perez agreed. He summed it up by repeating that it was “up to the FIA to do all those check-ups”, just as he concurred with his team that the front wing had a bigger influence on the current generation of cars than the rear wings which the FIA clamped on.
Perez finished by saying: “As Max says, I think the front is definitely much more powerful on a Formula 1 car these days than the rear wing. It’s up to them really, and they have all of the information I guess.”