The team principals of both McLaren and Mercedes have refused to jump to any conclusion following Red Bull’s struggles in Singapore.
The Milton Keynes outfit’s underperformance in Singapore came at the same time as a technical directive was introduced to tighten up the rules when it came to flexi wings.
It was easy to assume that this TD was what was causing Red Bull’s problems but Christian Horner insisted it was not and neither Toto Wolff nor Andrea Stella believe it to be the case either.
Mercedes and McLaren sceptical about TD impact on Red Bull
Red Bull exited from qualifying in Q2 for the first time in five years, confirming that their troubles in practice was not a case of sandbagging.
At a street circuit like Singapore it was always going to be a tough ask for the team to continue their winning streak but in searching for the cause of their problem, Red Bull were sure it was not the new directive.
Horner said the car was the same one that had won in Monza and Zandvoort and that Red Bull were not forced to make any chances with the arrival of TD018.
“The car we have here for qualifying is essentially the identical car to what we had two weeks ago in Monza and Zandvoort,” the Red Bull boss said. “No, [nothing to do with the technical directive], nothing has changed on the car.
“It’s a tried and tested set-up. It just hasn’t responded on this circuit, on this asphalt.”
While their rivals may hope it is a pattern that is set to continue, Mercedes boss Wolff was unconvinced the TD had a major role, citing problems they had at Singapore during their dominant years.
“We’ve been in Singapore with a dominant car and were not able to perform,” Wolff said.
“But it’s so difficult. We have one set of data now and then we’re going to a totally different track where that plays a role. So let’s wait.”
McLaren boss Andrea Stella was similarly sceptical about the directive being a cause of Red Bull’s troubles, suggesting it was not a substantial enough change to produce that result.
“I don’t know whether Red Bull had been affected or not by the TD,” Stella said. “But I would say that even if there was an effect, this effect wouldn’t be as large as the deficit of performance that meant they were out of Q3.
“So I would exclude that that’s the sole reason: if it’s a reason at all.”