After the F1 Turkish GP, Chris Horner returned to the attack: “Unexpected Mercedes growth, we asked ourselves some questions”. The answer: “New engine, normal makes better”. But the psychological struggle for the World Cup continues
The battle for the Formula 1 World Championship is not just that between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton. The two champions are polarizing attention with one of the most beautiful fights in recent F1 history, but they are only the tip of a huge iceberg that involves their respective teams. At short intervals since the beginning of the season, in the Turkish GP the question and answer between Mercedes and Red Bull has moved (again) to the theme of the power of the power unit. To throw more fuel on the fire of the suspect was Christian Horner, the team principal of the Anglo-Austrians who judged “surprising” the top speed developed in the straight by rivals, especially after the replacement of the internal combustion engine that forced Hamilton to start from the eleventh square of the Istanbul grid.
mercedes f1, because the suspects
On the contrary that in recent years, when all manufacturers pushed the development in search of extra horses, from 2021 the question has become controversial: the regulation imposed to contain costs after the Covid-19 pandemic, has in fact granted engine engineers a single evolution for each component of the power unit approved last season. This is the reason why Ferrari, which had so far competed with a hybrid system identical to the one used in 2020, was able to debut the new Ers between Sochi and Istanbul, which is performing so well on the single-seater of Leclerc and Sainz. But this is also the reason why Mercedes, which instead updated its entire engine earlier this year, shouldn’t be able to improve performance so sharply. Thus, the words of a Horner astonished by Hamilton and Bottas’ top speeds on the forehand are not a very veiled accusation to rivals of cheating.
red bull, l’accusa a mercedes
“Lately they have made significant steps forward – explained the Red Bull team principal after the race in Turkey – in terms of top speed on the straight. We used to be able to get close to them by mounting weaker wings, but now we can’t. In Istanbul, Hamilton had a huge advantage despite the high downforce and we asked ourselves some questions, even asking the Federation to take a look. The speed increase on the straight was higher than what you normally get when opening the DRS. It is something quite impressive ”. Mercedes obviously sends the accusations back to the sender: the endothermic engines, argue from Stuttgart, degrade with mileage and it is quite normal that a fresh unit has given the possibility to go a little further with the mappings (and, therefore , lower lap times).
horner-wolff, the precedents
The controversy over the new Ice assembled by Hamilton in Turkey is just the latest playing field in an endless session of “cops and robbers” that Mercedes and Red Bull have been carrying out since the beginning of the season. Between Barcelona and Monte Carlo, the first battleground had been on the flexible ailerons, able to pass the FIA compliance checks but also to fold in a straight line reducing drag and drag. Having resolved the issue with a tightening of controls that led to nothing, after the French GP it was Hamilton and Wolff who inaugurated the theme of suspicion on the power unit: the Honda engine? Too powerful, according to GPS data. Verstappen and Horner replied immediately, who had suggested to Lewis a “new pair of eyeglasses”. Meanwhile, the controversy erupted over the FIA technical directive aimed at slowing down the time of pit stops, considered by Red Bull as an attempt by Mercedes to hinder them in a fundamental in which they had reached peaks of excellence. To further inflame the challenge there were the accidents at Silverstone – complete with lawyers hired by Helmut Marko to file a complaint with the FIA in the vain intent to snatch victory from Hamilton in the home race – Budapest and Monza. Finally, there was no shortage of a push on the 2022 drivers market, with Wolff and Horner also rivals in influencing the assignment of the second Williams seat, then went to Verstappen’s former companion, Alexander Albon, preferred to Nyck De Vries, champion Formula E with Mercedes.
12 October – 14:54
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