Former F1 mechanic explains why Mercedes have concerns over Red Bull's rear-wing

01-06-2021 07:29
F1 News
Former F1 mechanic explains why Mercedes have concerns over Red Bull's rear-wing

Ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix there has been a lot of talk about Red Bull Racing's flexible rear wing. Mercedes are threatening with a protest, the outcome of which is very uncertain. 

The rear wing of Red Bull, and some other teams as well, moves too much on the straight which Mercedes believe gives their rivals an aerodynamic advantage. This would give them less drag on the straights and thus more top speed, without sacrificing downforce in the corners. This could be particularly help in the streets of Baku with the long straight. 

Mercedes afraid of Red Bull

''The reason it has become an even bigger talking point is because Baku has this incredibly long straight. The longest straight on the Formula 1 calendar. And that, of course, is where you need top speed. In this big battle between Mercedes and Red Bull, it's always been Mercedes with the clear advantage on that. I'm not saying that will necessarily change this weekend, but Red Bull have this rear wing which is able to dump some drag under the high speeds and high loads. When you dump drag, you increase top speed because it [drag] returns in the corners where you need the downforce and you can take the drag,'' said Marc Priestley in his new video.

''Mercedes are now concerned that Red Bull might gain so much from this. We've come from Monaco where Red Bull had a distinct advantage. There are sections of the Azerbaijan track that are Monaco like. The bit that goes up the city, it's tight and twisty and narrow. Yet the long straight is about the top speed. You can make up so much ground and overtake with this. That's why Mercedes it's becoming a major talking point. Mercedes wanting to get it banned before the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, even talking about putting in a protest." 

Protest against the FIA

So around the race there is much to look forward to. Will the teams in Azerbaijan already come up with a new rear wing for fear of a protest and possible loss of points, or will we see the same wings as in Monaco and Spain and a protest from Mercedes follow? If that's the case, the former McLaren mechanic has his reservations about what that will bring.

"I actually think if they were to protest the rear-wings, I'm not sure they would get anywhere. That would almost be criticising the FIA's own testing regime. They would almost be saying 'your tests aren't good enough'. They have already announced they are bringing in stricter testing rules from the French Grand Prix onwards which will in theory outlaw the rear-wing. I can't see a protest in Baku gaining traction. But, as ever, it's down to the stewards not necessarily the FIA," he added. 

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