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F1 front wing controversy: Red Bull questions legality

F1 front wing controversy: Red Bull questions legality
© Reuters
"Heated discussions" have erupted within Formula 1, sparked by concerns about the compliance of specific front wing designs.

"Heated discussions" have erupted within Formula 1, sparked by concerns about the compliance of specific front wing designs.

Recent grands prix have revealed that Red Bull, once the undisputed frontrunner, now finds itself closely matched by competitors Ferrari, McLaren, and Mercedes.

"Max (Verstappen) is lucky that he built up such a buffer at the start of the season," Dutch GP chief Jan Lammers told NOS.

"At the moment, McLaren seems to be the most consistent. When we look back from Barcelona after next weekend, I will be very curious to see who we think will win this championship. It's not so obvious anymore that it will be Max. It could well be McLaren."

Michael Schmidt of Auto Motor und Sport noted that the shift in competitive balance may be attributed to recent innovations in front wing technology.

"The front wing plays a really big role now, you have to say," Schmidt observed. "Since Imola, there have been quite heated discussions in the paddock about the front wings. Red Bull claim that the McLaren wing in particular bends significantly too much. Also Ferrari. And now Mercedes have followed suit with the bending."

Mercedes introduced a new front wing on George Russell's car in Monaco, which was then also fitted to Lewis Hamilton's car in Montreal, significantly boosting their performance.

"It gave more performance, made it easier to drive, gave good balance and made the car a friend to the driver rather than them having to battle with it," Mercedes' technical head James Allison acknowledged. "That was a problem for us at the start of the season."

However, Red Bull's focus, according to team consultant Dr. Helmut Marko, is not primarily on the front wing but rather on the ultra-rigid nature of their car, which has struggled with bumps and kerbs.

"We reacted to Monaco by going to Canada with a softer basic setup," Marko explained to Speed Week.

"But that was not enough. After the Racing Bulls car was very strong in this regard in Montreal, we are currently taking a closer the look at where Red Bull Racing might have made a mistake. I believe we are on the right track to make progress soon in terms of the front suspension."

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Red Bull team advisor Helmut Marko is interviewed after practice on May 24, 2024
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