Christian Horner has some worries seeing the straightline gains from Mercedes in recent races as Toto Wolff dwells on performance vs reliability scene.
Red Bull had inquired about parts of the Mercedes engine in recent times, especially related to plenum for the gains they have made. They were not the sole F1 team to do so as Horner pointed out, with others joining in to understand if there was any foul play.
Mercedes already raised some queries about Honda’s straightline pace earlier in the season, but there was nothing wrong, which seems likely the case with Mercedes. “For clarity, we didn’t protest it,” said Horner to TV media. “We raised some questions as all teams do. There were other manufacturers raising questions and continue to be raised.
“It is down to the FIA to look at it and police but when you got straightline speed greater than with the DRS opened, that’s pretty impressive. As I alluded to, their straightline speed has taken a significant step recently and I think that and whereas we could match them with smaller wings previously but now we can’t near.
“We saw that in Turkey, where Lewis in particular had a significant straightline advantage with a bigger rear wing of the car. We’ve got to maximize our package as best we can and, as I say, it’s surprising that they’ve made the step that they have with the power unit,” summed up Horner.
Pressing ahead, when asked if the recent reliability concerns that Mercedes is having is down to push for extra performance, Horner couldn’t pin point it. “I think you can see across all of their teams, they’ve obviously got some reliability issues that they’re managing, which is unusual for Mercedes, but the performance is still incredibly impressive.
“Where one comes at the expense of the other, I don’t know but certainly on Sunday in Turkey, it’s been highlighted I think if you look at some of the speed deltas on the back straight — at some points it was 15 to 20 km/h, which is more than if they had been DRS,: summed up Horner when speaking to written media.
On Mercedes side, having taken up the fourth ICE on Lewis Hamilton’s side and the stories around the engine having issues, Wolff was quite open about pushing the boundaries with their power unit, especially keeping 2022 and the future in mind.
“It’s tricky, when you start to push the boundaries with power unit performance at a certain stage you will experience some obstacles,” said Wolff to written media. “And our power units have been the most reliable since the introduction of the of the hybrid engines in 2014.
“Because these boundaries are being pushed we have seen examples of, let’s say, unusual noises within the combustion engine that aren’t completely understood at that stage yet and therefore caused some trouble. In the past we had engines that basically failed and now it’s about containing the problem because in that phase, redesigning parts is not something you would tackle.
“I think balancing performance and reliability has always been the key metrics in the last couple of years, and it will be also going forward. We will not be carrying any deficits into next year because the deficits are being understood and now it’s about finding solutions that contain these,” summed up Wolff.
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