Toto Wolff has hit back at Christian Horner’s widely publicised score marks on the W12’s rear wing, saying Red Bull are seeing “ghosts”.
Questioning the Mercedes rear wing which Red Bull believe has an illegal flex, the Briton showed photographs of marks on it.
He explained to Sky F1: “The grey shadow area is where that lower part of the wing is what we call fretting against, it’s where it has backed off, where it has moved and flexed.
“We have numerous pictures from each of the recent grands prix that you can see this has been happening, and that’s what our concern has been.”
Wolff rubbished Horner’s claims.
“I can’t see anything on this photo other than stuff being scratched – a ghost,” he said as per ESPN. “I don’t know where they got this photo from and what it shows. It’s a ghost.”
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As for whether Mercedes expect Red Bull to protest their wing between now and the final lap of the season in Abu Dhabi, Wolff said he has no idea what the “erratic” Red Bull is ever thinking.
He insists all he’s thinking of is Sunday’s Qatar Grand Prix and reducing Lewis Hamilton’s deficit to Max Verstappen in the Drivers’ Championship, the Briton trailing his Dutch rival by 14 points.
“I don’t know what they are planning to do,” he said, “but as I said, I can’t keep up [with the accusations]. I can’t follow their thinking.
“It seems erratic. But that’s okay because I don’t want to put any more oil in the flames.
“We are trying to look at ourselves and do the best possible job. We are still on the back foot with 14 points and we need to do a good race. That’s what counts.”
In response to Red Bull’s continued complaints about the W12’s rear wing, the FIA announced on Saturday in Qatar that they’d be introducing a new test for the wings, aimed specifically at the back of the wing.
Horner explained: “There will be a pull-down test on the back of the wing, so effectively an amount of load will be added to the back of the wing.
“I think it will be more than 20 kilos, I think you would probably be closer to, split across the wing it’s probably going to be 70/80 kilos and it will be ramped up in stages.
“So you will be able to measure the deflection.”
Wolff isn’t at all fazed by this.
“I think they are trying a new load test, also for next year, to have these things more robust and checking how much a wing deflects,” said the Mercedes motorsport boss.
“I think it is not in the regulations or a TD but more of an experiment.
“But it will be interesting to see the results, because I think we are on the good side.
“But I am pre-empting because I don’t know what the results are or when they want to do it. We need to find out with the garage.”