George Russell and Mercedes have been accused of “trying to make headlines” as they continue to insist Red Bull are sandbagging.
Red Bull have won all three races of the 2023 season so far but even still, Russell is under the assumption that they are holding something back.
Formula 1 has a history of adapting its regulations in order to reel in dominant outfits and Russell suspects Red Bull are hiding their true performance in order to stop that happening to them.
Speaking to the BBC’s Chequered Flag podcast, the Briton said Red Bull were “for sure holding back.”
“I think they are almost embarrassed to show their full potential because the faster they seem, the more that the sport is going to try and hold them back somehow.”
But that suggestion was refuted by Max Verstappen who said that the only reason Red Bull have to not go full tilt is more towards protecting tyres.
As such, Russell has been accused of trying to stir the pot as it were and perhaps put a spotlight on a non-existent problem.
Speaking on the same podcast, long-time F1 commentator Rosanna Tennant said Russell and Mercedes were “trying to make headlines.”
“People do a good job, they rise to the top, they become the winners,” she said. “If they keep on doing a good job, they’re the winners for quite a long time and we have these periods of domination in Formula 1, or have had these periods of domination.
“Now we’re moving into a Red Bull phase again and I think Mercedes are questioning whether Red Bull are actually holding back so that they don’t become penalised at some point in the season by FIA, by Formula 1.
“I did ask Max that after the race, but I think what he was trying to explain was that actually, it’s not some master plan so that they can continue winning.
“I think it’s actually more sort of case-by-case and so during the race, he didn’t want to race off, he wanted to make sure he made it to the end for many reasons.
“Not because they think they have an issue necessarily but so that they don’t run out of engines or they don’t run out of tyres.
“I think it might be trying to make headlines from Mercedes there.”