Toto Wolff expects a messy situation in F1 Azerbaijan GP if FIA doesn’t clarify further on flexi wings as both he and Christian Horner talk about protests.
After the whole protest saga in 2020, there be more in 2021, this time involving the Top 2 teams – Mercedes and Red Bull. It all started with the former speaking out about the latter’s rear wing movement during the F1 Spanish GP weekend.
While Mercedes had their eyes on Red Bull since Portugal, it only came to light in Spain, when Lewis Hamilton first shared it on Saturday. It kicked-off 2021’s technical controversy, with the FIA stepping in, with some tests until ahead of the French GP.
This gave teams having the flexi wings a run until before the French GP, while the tests happened behind the scenes. While it wasn’t so required in Monaco, but Wolff notes that next weekend’s F1 Azerbaijan GP will bring back Red Bull’s advantage with the wings.
As things stand, Red Bull are not the only team with the wings, as Ferrari, Alpine and Alfa Romeo, are also talked about in the paddock. The likes of Mercedes and even McLaren, want the FIA to stop the advantage already now and not wait until French GP.
They feel, it gives their F1 rivals, extra time and running to take advantage of the system. Post the Monaco GP, Wolff went ahead to suggest that things could get messy in Azerbaijan GP, if the FIA doesn’t clarify its position, to try and bring forward the stop.
Wolff hinted on not only a protest to the stewards, but also taking it to International Court of Appeal, if there is no action from the stewards. “I think the limbo wings if they are on at Baku, with the advantage we see, it is going to go to the stewards and if the stewards are not enough, it will go to the ICA,” he said.
“I guess, the FIA are going to clarify things before Baku because if not, then it could be messy,” Wolff noted, as he also responded to the claims from Horner about Mercedes’ flexi front wings movement, especially from the footage from Imola GP.
“It’s a competitive business,” Horner said, over the Monaco GP weekend. “You’ve only got to look a bit of the footage from Imola, when we’re talking about flexibility, I think it’s very unfair to point it at one direction at the rear of the car when you should also perhaps be looking at the front of the car.
“I think if the camera was facing the other way on our rivals’ side they’d be having the same discussion with you, 100%,” summed up Horner. Responding to this, Wolff welcomed any protest against their front wing, as he noted that their analysis shows Red Bull’s front wing moves same as theirs, but their rear wing moves a lot more, which goes against the rules.
“We have analysed the front wing, they are bending exactly in the same way as Red Bull, so we could be protesting each other on the front wing,” said Wolff. “But also it is clear that the rear wings bend more than it should under the rules. It has been classified as non-conforment, but we have left it in a vacuum, where new test will be done after Baku.
“It is what it is, we are pretty robust in our legal position and it is just an advantage. But here in Monaco, it is not the time to talk about rear wings because they won fair and square, the wing had nothing to do with Red Bull’s performance, they were just better and that’s what you need to take on the chin and congratulate them,” summed up Wolff.
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