Marko: Wolff "should look at his front wings" amid protest threat

Helmut Marko has warned Mercedes chief Toto Wolff that he should “look at his front wings” as Formula 1 heads for possible protests in Baku over flexi-wings.

F1 teams have been engaged in debate over the stability of rear wings since the Spanish Grand Prix, when Lewis Hamilton passed comment about Red Bull running a “bendy wing”.

The FIA has since moved to clamp down on the flexi-wings by introducing new rigidity tests that will come into force from the French Grand Prix. 

But Mercedes and McLaren were left unhappy that the FIA had not introduced the tests sooner, meaning teams such as Red Bull, Ferrari and Alfa Romeo could still take advantage of the rule loophole in Azerbaijan next week.

Mercedes team principal Wolff warned in Monaco that F1 was heading for a “very messy” situation if the FIA did not issue clarification before the Baku weekend, indicating the case could lead to a protest. 

But Red Bull advisor Marko felt the FIA had made it clear when the new tests would come into force, and indicated Red Bull may look to counter-protest Mercedes over the flexibility of its front wing.

“We find this a bit strange,” Marko said in an exclusive interview with Motorsport.com's sister publication Formel1.de.

“The FIA has decided that the rules for the test, especially for the torsion resistance, will be changed. This will apply from Paul Ricard onwards. That is a very clear statement and regulation. 

“If Mr Wolff thinks that is too late for him - in my opinion, it is still the FIA that determines the procedure. If he does that [protest], he is free to do so.

“But I think he should also look at his front wings. Because on ServusTV and also on Sky, there was a recording where you saw how drastically this front wing approaches the ground.”

Asked if Red Bull could protest against Mercedes’ front wing, Marko said: “Right.”

Helmut Marko, Consultant, Red Bull Racing, Toto Wolff, Executive Director Mercedes AMG F1

Helmut Marko, Consultant, Red Bull Racing, Toto Wolff, Executive Director Mercedes AMG F1

Photo by: Andrew Hone / Motorsport Images

It is not the first time that Red Bull has made reference to the flexibility of the front wing on Mercedes’ W12 F1 car amid the ongoing saga.

Wolff said on Sky Sports last weekend that Mercedes had checked its front wing and found it was “bending exactly the same way as the Red Bull”, and that the teams “could be protesting each other on the front wing also”.

Wolff added: “But it's clear that the rear wing bends more than it should. Under the rules, it has been classified as non conformance.”

Read Also:

Marko said Red Bull had been forced to make similar changes to its car back in 2012 and 2013 when stricter tests were introduced, but said they were always done in accordance with deadlines.

"We had to make improvements each time,” Marko said. “A deadline was set and we made improvements within this period. That is a normal process.

“At the moment, we are on the road with a legal car. And at Paul Ricard, we will put a corresponding reinforcement on our rear wing.”

Marko did acknowledge that the debate over flexi-wings was “not championship-deciding” in the fight between Red Bull and Mercedes, with the teams separated by just one point at the top of the constructors’ standings.

shares
comments

Related video

Ocon highlights 'massive' role of new engineers in performances
Previous article

Ocon highlights 'massive' role of new engineers in performances

Next article

The politics-laden Ferrari that climaxed the Enzo era

The politics-laden Ferrari that climaxed the Enzo era
Load comments
The line Verstappen finally crossed in F1's first Jeddah race Prime

The line Verstappen finally crossed in F1's first Jeddah race

OPINION: Max Verstappen has made the 2021 Formula 1 championship. He’s taken the fight to the all-conquering Mercedes squad and its dominant champion, produced driving displays few can match. But he’s been on a controversial course too, and finally crossed a particular line in Jeddah

Why thrilling Jeddah F1 circuit needs to be safer Prime

Why thrilling Jeddah F1 circuit needs to be safer

OPINION: Saudi Arabia's new F1 circuit delivered a memorable first event, although not necessarily for all the right reasons. In the wake of the chaotic race, drivers voiced their concerns about the track but small changes could make significant improvements ahead of a return in four months.

The long-term F1 vision causing Haas’s short-term pain Prime

The long-term F1 vision causing Haas’s short-term pain

From ranking as one of the most impressive new teams to join the Formula 1 grid, Haas’s stock has plummeted along with its on-track performances over the past two seasons. Everything now hangs on whether its reforged alliance with Ferrari can deliver a better car – and whether its rookie drivers can set aside their quarrels. Oleg Karpov asks if any of these goals are achievable…

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

An ill-tempered Saudi Grand Prix made Formula 1 more soap opera than sporting spectacle at times, but there were some strong performances up and down the field on the world championship's first visit to Jeddah

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2021
How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series Prime

How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series

The inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was a race packed full of incident as Formula 1 2021's title contenders repeatedly clashed on track. Lewis Hamilton won out over Max Verstappen to level the scores heading into next weekend's Abu Dhabi finale, as Jeddah turned F1 into a drama series

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2021
The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance Prime

The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance

Dropped by Red Bull last season, Alexander Albon has fought back into a Formula 1 seat with Williams. ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains what Albon has done to earn the place soon to be vacated by the highly rated George Russell

Formula 1
Dec 5, 2021
The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes Prime

The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes

Mercedes led the way in practice for Formula 1’s first race in Jeddah, where Red Bull was off the pace on both single-lap and long runs. But, if Max Verstappen can reverse the results on Saturday, factors familiar in motorsport’s main electric single-seater category could be decisive in another close battle with Lewis Hamilton...

Formula 1
Dec 4, 2021
Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Prime

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021