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Marko doubts Mercedes will trigger "major scandal" in Baku

NEWS STORY
28/05/2021

Despite Toto Wolff's threats to the contrary, Helmut Marko doesn't believe Mercedes will risk a "major scandal" in Baku by protesting as many as four teams.

Just in case anyone didn't get the message, Toto Wolff warned not once, but twice last weekend that it is Mercedes’ intention to protest those cars - particularly those of title rival Red Bull - running 'bendy' wings in Azerbaijan.

"We have seen in the past that complicated redesigns for teams had a delay," said Wolff last Thursday, referring to the fact that the FIA is not introducing its more stringent tests for wing flexibility until the French Grand Prix.

"It's clear that, if you have a back-to-back race, or maybe even two weeks, it's too short for everybody to adjust," he continued, "but we're having four weeks to Baku and it is incomprehensible that, within four weeks you can't stiffen-up a rear wing for the track that is probably the most affected by flexible rear wings.

"That leaves us in no-man's land," he added, "because the Technical Directive says the movement of some rear wings has been judged as excessive - so teams who would run these kinds of wings are prone to being protested and probably this is going to do to the ICA (International Court of Appeal) , and nobody needs this messy situation."

Three days later his mood hadn't softened, far from it.

"If the 'limbo' wings are on in Baku, with the advantage that we see, it's going to go to the stewards," he told Sky Sports. "And if the stewards are not enough, then it's going to go to the ICA. "So I guess the FIA is going to clarify things before Baku, because if not, it could be very messy."

However, title rival Red Bull isn't the only team allegedly running the so-called 'bendy' wings, for Ferrari, Alfa Romeo and Alpine are also believed to be bending - if you'll pardon the pun - the rules.

Consequently, Helmut Marko believes that Mercedes will not risk the "major scandal" of protesting four teams next weekend.

"Mercedes would have to protest against eight cars," he tells F1-Insider.com. "Because in addition to us, Ferrari, Alfa Romeo and Alpine are also impacted.

"Do you really want to do that and cause a major scandal? I do not think so.

"We expect that the tests for the front wing will now also be tightened," he added, "that's just fair. Because especially the front wing of Mercedes is the most wobbly candidate in this area. In any case, there is also potential for protest.

"We are changing our wing so it passes the new tests as required at the time required by the FIA,” he confirmed. "But that doesn’t work for Baku. We can’t do that in terms of time because we have to adjust the entire rear end. You can’t just build a new grand piano."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Greg, 29/05/2021 10:15

"Allow a flexi wing and front wings. But make them a single piece of material, no slots no 7 mini wings like at the front and get rid of DRS."

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2. Posted by kenji, 28/05/2021 14:10

"@ Spindoctor...If as you say, the wing is categorically 'illegal' then why didn't Wolff protest it at Monaco? It matters zip whether or not is actually flexed during the race as demonstrated post the previous GP.If it was illegal then it doesn't change status by race location!"

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3. Posted by Spindoctor, 28/05/2021 11:55

"Wolff is perfectly correct - F1 teams, who can design & manufacture parts in short-order can easily re-design & produce legal wings.
Marko may be right that Mercedes will simply ignore his team's cheating, but if I were Mercedes and\or FIA I'd call his bluff. The wings are illegal - that's just a fact & no amount of bullying or bluster changes that.

Teams which obey the rules (as opposed to the tests) are disadvantaged in what is clearly going to be a pretty tight season. What happens if Mercedes or McLaren (to name but 2) lose championship places & cash to a cheating team by a couple of points at season-end.....
"

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4. Posted by CL, 28/05/2021 6:08

"I think they misquoted him…he obviously said “Do you really want to run a wing that has been judged to break the rules and cause a major scandal? I do not think so.”"

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5. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 27/05/2021 18:57

"I now see why McLaren is also rather annoyed at this situation with their main rival this year one point away from them in the championship.

Perhaps this is why the delay in getting this sorted (a delay which is not acceptable) rather than favouring Red Bull?

As someone noted way back some 20 years ago, "McLaren doesn't have much red in their livery..."

The ruling has been made and the teams should be ordered to make sure they comply by the Friday of the Baku round."

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6. Posted by JamesD, 27/05/2021 17:27

"Does anybody take notice of what Helmut has to say these days ? Did we ever ???"

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