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Formula 1 Spanish GP

Mercedes F1 aerodynamicists analysing "nice clutch" of Red Bull floor images

Mercedes has admitted that its Formula 1 aerodynamicists are closely analysing a "nice clutch" of images of Red Bull's floor that were snapped at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Marshals remove the car of Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19, from the circuit after a crash in Q1

The Monte Carlo weekend proved to be an eye-opener for teams as the often well-hidden underside of some of the top contenders – including the Red Bull and Mercedes – were shown off as cars were retrieved on cranes.

Lewis Hamilton's crash in final practice at Mirabeau and Sergio Perez's accident in qualifying at Ste. Devote both required their car to be lifted high off the track, revealing their undersides.

The clear images of the floors were of huge interest to fans and teams, with Mercedes stating that it has taken a keen interest in the Red Bull design, which was notable in its complexity.

Speaking on Mercedes' regular post-race debrief video, technical director James Allison said that Mercedes was not going to miss the opportunity to get a better understanding of what its rival was up to.

"Certainly, it always attracts a lot of interest," he explained about the floors being shown off. "There is a lot of scurrying around with team cameramen, not just to rely on the TV pictures which are low resolution and not good enough grade.

"Photographers are positioned at strategic parts of the track where there is a likelihood that the cranes will be brought into play, and there they are clicking away furiously.

"Then our inbox is subsequently filled with high-resolution images of other cars. Sadly, our own car had its trip into the heavens this weekend and there will be plenty of photos in our competitor's inboxes from that.

"But yes, we got a nice clutch of Red Bull imagery and that's always a good thing for our aerodynamicists to pore over and see if we can pick out details that will be of interest to us in our ongoing test programme."

While Red Bull was not happy about some of its car secrets being revealed, the team has played down the prospects of rivals being able to swiftly copy what it is up to.

Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko told Motorsport.com after Monaco: "Of course, we don't like it.

"The floor is very important, but if you don't have the other parts and all the underlying concepts, then it's not so easy. And the Mercedes car was even longer up in the air.

"But I think nobody was as interested in the Mercedes floor as people were in our car."

George Russell, Mercedes W14

George Russell, Mercedes W14

Photo by: Alessio Morgese

Upgrade verdict

The Monaco weekend was the first time that Mercedes ran its new upgrade, although the tight and twisty nature of the track meant it was hard for the team to fully understand its impact.

While both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell said the car felt better with the tweaks, Allison thinks it will be easier to state after this weekend's Spanish GP about just how much progress the team can expect over the remainder of 2023.

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"I would say it is too early to say what their impact will be on the rest of the season, because Monaco is such a terribly difficult place to make these sorts of judgements at," he said.

"We didn't set the world on fire in qualifying, but the car had reasonably tidy race pace and we will wait and find out at the next race to see where we truly stand on a more normal track.

"But the drivers seemed to give reasonable feedback about the car, they felt good under braking, the car felt okay and the data that we took off the car on the aerodynamic sensors were not giving us any alarm bells. They were suggesting that things were in line with expectation."

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