F1 preview: A lap of the Miami Grand Prix
Red Bull chief Helmut Marko has torn into Mercedes for “moaning” as he questioned the FIA for using “manipulative tricks” in a bid to stop Max Verstappen. Race officials have reduced the length of the DRS zones in recent races with updates in Azerbaijan and Miami.
It comes after Red Bull has demonstrated their considerable straight-line speed advantage with Verstappen cruising past Lewis Hamilton at the Australian Grand Prix. When asked if he felt the DRS changes were a ploy to stop Red Bull’s advantage, Marko responded: “Exactly.”
He told Motorsport Magazin: “Overtaking has always been difficult but especially when the DRS zones are shortened. And we know why that happens. We have to stop intervening with these kinds of manipulative tricks, it is bizarre that Mercedes, of all teams, is moaning.
“For years Mercedes had the superior engine and they were much further ahead of the competition than we are now. And then when you deliver a flop of a car two years in a row, you might be wise to focus on that.”
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Hamilton hit out at Red Bull’s advantage after Verstappen’s pass in Melbourne. He commented: “Clearly we have a lot of work to do to catch Red Bull because they came flying past and disappeared.”
The next two races have seen DRS alterations with the length of the zone cut by 100m in Baku and 75m in Miami. After Azerbaijan, Toto Wolff called for the governing body to consider rules changes after a lack of overtaking.
However, he suggested an increase in DRS would have made little difference as he appeared to point the finger at the new regulations. Wolff added: “Even if you were within 0.2 seconds it was nearly impossible to overtake unless the other driver makes a mistake. We need to look at it and how we can make it better, how we can avoid just a boring race.
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“I’m not sure that 100m more DRS would have made a difference.” Mercedes driver and Grand Prix Drivers’ Association (GPDA) director George Russell has not backed the DRS updates.
Instead, the former Williams star has demanded answers after he admitted drivers were not asked about the plans. Ahead of Miami, he explained: “I think all of us didn’t really understand why they’ve been shortened.
“None of us were consulted about it or asked our opinion on it and I think the race speaks for itself in Baku.”
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