Lewis Hamilton goes undercover to inspire school children
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Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin says the team have “invited the FIA” to look at their rear wing as much as they want after questions surrounding their rear wing gained momentum once again in Qatar. According to Red Bull, the supporting surface of Mercedes’ rear wing is distorting when travelling down the straights at high speed, reducing drag on the W12.
While no official protest has been formally lodged, Red Bull say they are keeping a close eye on their main title rivals, with Max Verstappen even picking up a 50,000 euro fine for inspecting the rear wing in Brazil.
Mercedes however say their car is “100 per cent legal” after team principals Toto Wolff and Christian Horner met during a press conference on Friday.
“If we believe the [Mercedes] car is not in compliance, we will protest,” Horner told reporters.
“The straight-line speeds we have seen in Mexico and Brazil was not a normal situation. And yes we know that a new engine with Mercedes comes with increased performance.
“But when you have a 27km/h closing speed and you see marks on the rear wing endplates that have been marking up from wings flexing, it is very clear to us what has been going on.”
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Speaking alongside Wolff in the press conference, Horner even quizzed his Mercedes counterpart and asked: “So how do you explain the score marks [effectively small grooves in the bodywork] on the rear wing endplates?”
Wolff replied: “It’s within what is allowed, and therefore it’s OK.”
However, Shovlin disputed any suggestion their rear wing is anything but legal.
“We’d had a look at it and there are no score marks,” Shovlin said on Sky Sports F1.
“So we’re not quite sure what that is, but it seems to be a bit of a story that’s not going away.
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“From our point of view, we’re absolutely happy with what we’ve got on the car.
“We’ve invited the FIA to look at it as much as they want. They don’t have any issues with what we’ve got.
“We’re going to every circuit, look at the fastest wing we have, and that’s the one we’ll bolt to the car and that’s what we’ll keep doing.
Regarding Red Bull’s threat that there will be a protest if Mercedes uses what it did in Brazil, Shovlin said “we’ll not take advice from another team”.
Verstappen leads Hamilton by 14 points in the driver standings while Mercedes hold an 11 point lead over Red Bull in the Constructors’ Championship with just three races remaining.
After Qatar, Formula One visits Saudi Arabia before the season finale at Abu Dhabi.
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