Red Bull suspects that the reason behind Lewis Hamilton’s win in the Brazilian GP might have something to do with the rear wing of his car.
Since Lewis Hamilton’s victory in the Brazilian Grand Prix, there has been a lot of speculation about the reasons behind the high speed of his car.
Some believe that it was the new ICE, which, even though it came with a grid penalty, helped Hamilton storm through the track. In contrast, Red Bull suspects that it had something to do with the car’s rear wing. It is rumoured that a former Mercedes team member told the trick.
Everybody understood that Mercedes had somehow mastered a rocket when Hamilton flew 21.7 km/h faster on the straight lines in the sprint race last weekend.
That moment when we all held our breath on Sunday 😮
— Formula 1 (@F1) November 14, 2021
Explaining Mercedes’ pace, Red Bull technical director Adrian Newey said, “with their outstanding top speed, they forced us to do two things. Firstly, we drove with a little less downforce than planned. Secondly, our drivers had to attack in the middle section to get that to catch up again. That boiled the tires hot for us.”
Mercedes’ pace on the straights is unmatchable, and for months Red Bull has been trying to figure out why. There have been many theories, but none led to a precise result.
Red Bull’s advisor Helmut Marko believes that some of it has to do with the new ICE. He said, “He was much faster than the other Mercedes drivers. Mercedes managed a masterpiece to conjure up such a rocket in the crucial part of the championship.”
Red Bull knows the trick
As per Mercedes engineers, the secret behind Hamilton’s overtaking is not just a healthy top speed. “We had better traction from corners 3 and 12. Those are the corners in front of the straights. In Interlagos, traction is a question of the tire temperature at the rear and how you can turn into the corners,” explained a Mercedes engineer.
“Our front axle was very stable. And our drivers have special Take care of your tires in the fast corners 6 and 7. Red Bull was clearly faster there. But in the two corners, you knock your tires out if you drive too aggressively. And you pay for that later when it matters.”
However, Red Bull’s team principal Christian Horner pointed out that the Red Bull and a few other cars on the grid have a rear wing flap folded back when a specific load is exceeded.
After Mercedes’ instigation, the FIA introduced stricter rules for the French GP’s flexibility of rear wing elements. That forced six teams to stiffen their wings.
Horner further explained that at Mercedes, the trick works the other way around. The main blade of the wing is in the visor. It allegedly deliberately deforms downwards and thus opens the rear wing gap more than allowed. This is practically invisible from the outside because the flap covers the lower element.
— Adriano Soares Pinto (@adrianosoaresp) November 13, 2021
“You have to know exactly where to look to see anything at all,” they said behind closed doors. It is rumoured that a former Mercedes employee has revealed the trick.
It seems like Verstappen was well aware of this theory. When he examined Hamilton’s rear wing in Parc Ferme, he pressed on the lower, not the upper, element.
Newey said, “we’ll see how the FIA interprets the matter.” While Marko thinks a protest is premature as they don’t yet have enough facts to take action against it. Meanwhile, Mercedes is calm about a demonstration. Its team principal Toto Wolff said, “you won’t find anything.”