Mercedes wing ‘bends noticeably’ claims Marko as new Verstappen theory emerges – F1 news round-up

Henry Valantine
Mercedes W15 front wing and nose assembly. F1 news

Mercedes W15 front wing and nose assembly

Wednesday’s F1 news round-up has landed, with the build-up to the Spanish Grand Prix getting louder as we prepare for the action in Barcelona.

Alpine reserve Jack Doohan and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz were in Barcelona city centre performing donuts for locals, Doohan in an Alpine-liveried 2012 Lotus (the V8 sound is missed), but here in the world of F1 news, here are the headlines from today.

Helmut Marko on Mercedes’ front wing

Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko believes Mercedes’ front wing was ‘bending noticeably’ in Canada, though they were approved by the FIA for strength – with the topic of flexi-wings seemingly coming back up in Marko’s mind, though he denied Red Bull had approached the FIA over the issue.

“They have a new front wing, and on the TV pictures from Montreal you can clearly see that Russell and Hamilton’s wings are bending noticeably,” Marko told OE24.

“However, the wings had the necessary strength when they were approved. That doesn’t surprise me.

“I don’t know how often we had to check our wings. There is a precisely defined procedure with weights under which a wing must not bend.

“It is a popular game of pushing everything to the limit so that it passes the technical inspection. During the race, the wing then lowers, which ensures better aerodynamics.”

Read more: Helmut Marko quizzed on Mercedes front wing with ‘doesn’t surprise me’ verdict

Max Verstappen to Mercedes? Kimi Antonelli may hold the key, in theory

Sky F1’s Ted Kravitz laid out a theory in which Kimi Antonelli may be the only person preventing Max Verstappen from moving teams in future, to Mercedes specifically, if he wants to take advantage of Mercedes’ resources in 2026.

Antonelli is favourite to take over from Lewis Hamilton next year if Mercedes cannot land Verstappen, who is under contract at Red Bull until 2028.

But with a lengthy explanation and “lots of conjecture and hypotheticals” to give his reasoning, Kravitz explained that if Verstappen looks to Mercedes for F1’s regulation changes, Antonelli may end up blocking the path.

 

Read more: The Kimi Antonelli theory that could trigger Max Verstappen’s Red Bull exit

But could Verstappen and Antonelli coexist in the same team?

Helmut Marko believes Antonelli wouldn’t leave Mercedes, however, explaining he is an “absolute Mercedes man” moving forward.

When asked if George Russell’s job could be in jeopardy if Verstappen becomes available, Marko retorted: “That is still so far away.

“Now let’s concentrate on the next races and see if we can win the World Championship again. Our biggest advantage is that the other teams are taking points away from each other. I hope it continues like this.”

Read more: Verstappen and Antonelli? Helmut Marko not denying it’s a possibility… for Mercedes

James Allison on Mercedes’ 8-1 qualifying battle so far

With there being a big gap between Lewis Hamilton and George Russell in the qualifying battle so far, at least in terms of Russell out-qualifying Hamilton, Mercedes technical director James Allison predicted that battle will take on more meaning as the W15 gets quicker.

“I wouldn’t have predicted 8-1,” Allison told the Beyond the Grid podcast when reminded of the Mercedes drivers’ current qualifying head-to-head ratio.

“And I think that for a chunk of the year, the car has been a pretty troubled beast.

“It’s become a much, much better car in the last two or three races and, with that, I think the judgments about who may or may not put it in front of the other car become more meaningful, because the car is less of a random number generator.”

Read more: Mercedes present ‘hypothesis’ behind Lewis Hamilton’s 8-1 deficit to George Russell

Stefano Domenicali’s insight into F1 calendar plans of the future

Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali confirmed rotation between European races looks set to be on the horizon as venues potentially get added to the calendar moving forward – without going above the 24-race threshold in a single season.

Alongside that, the potential for more Sprint events is being considered, as well as admitting that the sport is “no longer as dependent” on Europe as it used to be.

“I don’t believe that 24 Grand Prix is an oversupply. Look at other sports,” he told Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport.

“Soccer and basketball are played every other day. They entertain their fans much more intensively. In terms of quantity, we have much less content to offer. Nevertheless, compared to other sports, we are doing very well and growing. Everyone involved in our sport, in whatever way, should be happy with the situation.”

Read more: More rotation, more sprints: A glimpse into the future of F1’s calendar plans