Horner refutes Mercedes engine suspicions


Sherlock Hamilton was on the case again last weekend, ably assisted by his sidekick, Doctor Wolff. However Red Bull and Honda were quick to refute the pair's latest findings.

Having successfully solved The Case of the Bendy Wing and The Hounding of the (Tyre) Blanket Bulls, Sherlock Hamilton was back on the trail at Paul Ricard.

Moments after putting Valtteri Bottas' car on the front row of the grid - a car he had found incomprehensible just 24 hours earlier - Sherlock was voicing his suspicion over the pace of the Red Bull.

"I've generally been unhappy in the car all weekend," the world champion admitted to Paul di Resta in the post-qualifying interviews.

"I saw you coming out with some myth and I was happy to be able to prove it wrong," he added, a reference to the Scot's suggestion that the chassis swap was a bid to discover if there was a difference between the two Mercedes cars.

"Congratulations to Max, he did a great job today," he continued. "They have been incredibly quick.

"You see they have got a new engine this weekend. Not a new spec or anything, as far as I am aware, but they are quick down the straight. I think it was a lot of time on the straights today."

Doctor Wolff took the case up from there.

"They have made a huge step forward with their power unit, the introduction of the second power unit," said the Austrian. "And their race car is good, no doubt about that."

However, as both are well aware, the engine homologation rules mean that there are no new spec engines.

"We're not allowed to make progress, I don't know what he's referencing there," said Christian Horner in reaction to the suggestions. "I think that it's the same specification as the first unit.

"We've run a much smaller rear wing, so that's why the straight line performance was strong," he added. "I think Honda are doing a great job, but we don't see a sudden significant increase in power."

While Red Bull and AlphaTauri introduced its second power unit of the season in France, the Mercedes-powered teams took on their new units in Baku.

"On the team side we are introducing new parts so that we can evolve every race," said Honda's F1 technical director, Toyoharu Tanabe. "The power unit is the same (spec) all the time, but we are learning better how to use energy management etc. for every race.

"We are looking at the characteristics of each circuit, and I think that such daily developments are connected to the current improvement."

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Published: 23/06/2021
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