Red Bull has big doubts about Hamilton’s new engine – The Brazilian Grand Prix weekend seemed to be going badly for Lewis Hamilton at the beginning, but the Briton still managed to win it. However, Red Bull has serious doubts about the Mercedes driver’s new Formula 1 engine.
Mercedes had a weekend full of upsets in Sao Paulo. The German team saw its star driver, Lewis Hamilton, disqualified from qualifying due to a DRS fault. As a result, the Briton started last in the sprint, in which he finished in tenth position.
Lewis Hamilton therefore started well behind his rival Max Verstappen on the grid. But the Mercedes driver still managed to win the Brazilian Grand Prix by ten seconds over the Dutchman, thus closing the gap on the latter in the overall Formula 1 standings. In addition to Lewis Hamilton’s performance, it was the speed of his car that surprised the Red Bull team. As a result, Christian Horner revealed that he had some doubts about the new Mercedes engine.
“All engines must work in the same way”
“We haven’t seen an engine like this from Mercedes in recent years, as far as I can remember.” says Red Bull team boss, Christian Horner.
“It’s unbelievable! And that’s just Hamilton’s power unit. All the others are in a normal range of performance. Mercedes must have pulled out a masterpiece to put such a rocket on track at this crucial stage of the season.
“But why don’t the others have access to this mode? All engines have to work in the same way. We have questions, of course…. as for an official complaint? That would be our last resort.” threatens Horner,
“We are in a grey area with Mercedes, I think. We will first try to have the parts changed that we think are not in conformity. But we don’t have enough facts yet to be able to ask for anything,”
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff had plenty to say about Red Bull and the ‘unfair’ treatment of Lewis Hamilton during the Brazillian GP weekend, claiming there were consiperacies against Lewis.
On Sunday evening, after the race, team boss Toto Wolff was more than a little scathing at a press conference held on Zoom.
“It’s unbelievable how this weekend has gone against us. On Friday we had a broken part on our rear wing. We weren’t allowed to see what happened to justify it. We were not allowed any analysis and we were disqualified. It’s incomprehensible.
“The Red Bull team was allowed, for three Grands Prix in a row, including Mexico last week, to fix their rear wing while their cars were also in the park. And that without any consequences…”
For the Austrian, the “non-aggression pact” between the teams has been broken.
“In a way, there was a “gentleman’s agreement”, a sort of tacit agreement, which no longer exists today. Which doesn’t surprise me, because there are no gentlemen in Formula One…” says Wolff,
“I don’t want to talk about one person in particular, but something happened on Friday that changes the classic modus operandi. Normally we would have been allowed to fix the faulty part before it passed inspection, but this time we were not allowed to go near it.
“And this change happened, either under pressure from some Formula 1 shareholders or for some other reason… but I can tell you that we will be looking at this with a ruthless eye in the future.”
Toto Wolff implies, in barely concealed words, that Liberty Media, the company that owns the commercial rights to F1, would have pressured the technical verifiers to hinder Mercedes’ engineers from correcting the defect, a practice that was previously allowed. The aim would obviously be to allow Max Verstappen to win the title, no doubt for commercial reasons.
“On Saturday, Lewis gave the best drive I have ever seen,” Wolff continues.
“I don’t know how he did it, he was passing his rivals left, right and over! And today (Sunday) in the race he drove perfectly. Max pushed him off the track at Turn 4, but he was clever enough to avoid colliding with him (meaning Max Verstappen was looking for a collision to maintain his championship lead).
“I like to see two great drivers battle it out. But not penalizing Max for that? No kidding. The whole weekend was against us, but the decision not to penalise Max is downright laughable.
“Max was wrong, his behaviour was way beyond the acceptable limit. He deserved at least a five second penalty, he probably knew that himself.”
When Lewis Hamilton was told over the radio that his opponent was not penalised, he replied: “Of course, of course”, implying that there was a conspiracy by the F1 authorities to favour Max Verstappen.
Michael Masi defends himself
At this year’s Austrian Grand Prix, Sergio Perez and Lando Norris were both penalised five seconds for pushing an opponent off the track, exactly as Max Verstappen did in Sao Paulo.
So why a penalty here and not there? Race director Michael Masi tried to justify himself on Sunday night in a Zoom conference:
“During the race we asked to see the front camera footage of Max’s car, which would have been revealing, but we didn’t get it from the production.
“We only had the footage that everyone else saw. We went with that. We judge each case separately, for what it is, and we look at the whole situation with the principle of ‘let them race’.
“We took into account the nature of the corner, and the fact that both cars went wide, and neither lost their position. So we felt that this incident did not merit a penalty.”