Christian Horner said he sees “significant differences” between Mercedes and Red Bull’s rear wings, with Mercedes improving in a straight line of late.
Horner would not be drawn on whether Max Verstappen found anything significant when he touched the wing on Lewis Hamilton’s car after qualifying, for which he received a €50,000 fine, but he still thinks there is something different about the back of their rival’s cars.
There was significant debate surrounding the legality of Mercedes’ wings in Brazil – with rumours of a Red Bull protest coming soon – but Toto Wolff insists that the team’s rear wing is “fully legal”.
Given the top speed difference between the two teams, however, the Red Bull team principal wants to get to the bottom of why that is.
“We won’t be protesting at this race. It’s important to understand where the speed has come from,” Horner told Sky F1 after the race.
“Obviously, they’ve had the new engine here, they’re running Monaco levels of downforce and when he passed Max, he was close to 30km/h quicker on that lap.
“It’s just something that we need to understand. It’s down to the FIA to police the sport and to govern it, so we trust in them and their tests and their investigation.”
Toto Wolff says he is braced for any protest from Red Bull, insisting the Mercedes W12 is "fully legal".
Red Bull, though, are not expected to lodge a post-race protest.https://t.co/NDiNyQHBZl #BrazilGP 🇧🇷 #F1 pic.twitter.com/S6iqSDOLrK
— PlanetF1 (@Planet_F1) November 14, 2021
Regarding Verstappen’s inspection of Hamilton’s car, Horner said it would be “inappropriate” to reveal what the Dutchman found when he touched the Mercedes on Friday – but did say the teams are running different designs.
“He felt about 50 grand,” quipped the Red Bull team boss. “It’d be inappropriate for me to comment, but there’s quite a significant difference.”
Mercedes’ double-podium finish at Interlagos opened up the gap to Red Bull again in the Constructors’ Championship, and Horner’s rivals appear to have clawed back the deficit they faced at the previous race in Mexico.
Given the unknowns of heading to two new tracks on the Formula 1 calendar and a re-profiled Abu Dhabi layout, Horner believes the relative performance of the two front-running cars is unknown as it stands, but his team will continue the battle to the final lap of the season.
“It really depends on the kind of circuit because we saw today that that car was un-raceable,” he said of the Red Bull and Mercedes’ car performance for the remainder of the season.
“I thought Max, as I said, did a hell of a job 75% of the race to have Lewis, with the speed that he had, behind.
“We’re going to fight; we’re going to give it everything we’ve got. We’ve worked so hard to get to this position.
“Mercedes have never been in this position. They’ve won and dominated – it’s all been done by now.
“So we’re pushing them as hard as we can, and we’ll push them as hard as we can all the way to the chequered flag in Abu Dhabi.”
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