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Red Bull chief advisor Helmut Marko believes Lewis Hamilton’s recent comments about their rear wing were set up by Mercedes boss Toto Wolff to help “set the mood” as the championship battle intensifies.
Hamilton raised concerns after winning the Spanish Grand Prix and extending his lead at the top of the Driver’s standings to 14 points from Max Verstappen, claiming Red Bull seemed to be exploiting a more flexible wing which could help provide more speed on the straights, and maximum downforce towards corners.
“The Red Bulls are really fast on the straights,” he said to Sky Sports F1. “They have this bendy wing on the back of their car which they put on today and they gained at least three tenths.”
However, the Red Bull boss Christian Horner refuted the suggestions, and was adamant their car was fully legal, and that their cars’ rear wings had passed stringent tests.
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“Of course the car is scrutineered thoroughly,” said Horner.
“The FIA are completely happy with the car, that it’s past all those tests that are pretty stringent.”
Horner also addressed Hamilton’s claims specifically, admitting the Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff had already had a similar conversation with him in the past.
“I was surprised to see his comments on that but it’s something Toto has mentioned to me previously, he continued.
“So I doubt it was Lewis’ opinion and came from elsewhere.”
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Marko was inclined to agree with the team principal, and told F1-Insider.com: “Toto Wolff told Lewis that to set the mood. But we are calm.
“We have passed all tests so far and will continue to do so in future tests. It shows how seriously they take our services at Mercedes.
“If we turn into the psychological, then I would expect a little more level there too.”
Since the allegations were made, Formula 1’s governing body the FIA sent a note warning teams it will introduce new rear wing flexibility tests after the suspicions of rule-bending were raised by Hamilton.
The governing body’s single-seater technical head Nikolas Tombazi wrote to teams saying it had “become aware” some rear wings passed tests but had “excessive deflections while cars are in motion”.
Tombazi said: “In particular we will not tolerate any persistent out of plane deformation that may be contrived to circumvent the symmetrical loading applied in the load deflection tests.”
The FIA have told teams that new load deflection tests would be introduced from June 15, around about in time for the French Grand Prix.
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