As Red Bull deny Christian Horner’s comments about Mercedes’ W13 being illegal, it seems the team boss did speak “extensively” with Auto Motor und Sport’s Michael Schmidt.
Never mind the controversy on the track, there was a bit in the paddock on Thursday as Formula 1’s official pre-season test began in Bahrain.
Lewis Hamilton ventured out in an extreme zero-pod W13, the revised Mercedes’ barely sporting any sidepods.
Red Bull team boss Horner was quoted as questioning the legality of the design.
“The new Mercedes violates the spirit of the regulations,” he reportedly told Auto Motor und Sport.
“For us, there are some parts that are not legal.”
Red Bull were quick to deny that he said that.
W13 turning a few heads this morning. 👀 pic.twitter.com/5LNKk6pA0c
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) March 10, 2022
“Horner has not given any interviews regarding Mercedes’ car. Any quotes attributed to him this morning are incorrect,” said a team spokesperson.
That was slightly tweaked shortly after when Red Bull added: “So we are clear, we have made no official comment regarding Mercedes’ car and will not be doing so.”
But while no official comment was made, BBC’s Andrew Benson says Horner definitely spoke with Schmidt.
He tweeted: “In summary, it is clear Horner did speak to Schmidt (extensively, I hear) and did say what he is quoted as saying.
“But it seems Red Bull now want it to go away, hence the remark about “no official comment” (whatever that means). It won’t go away, though. Obviously.”
Schmidt’s AMuS colleague Tobi Grüner voiced his confusion over Red Bull’s denial.
“We also got the message by Red Bull, claiming that Christian Horner hasn’t talked to anyone,” he said. “Don’t know why they did that.”
Sky Sports F1 tracked down Horner just before the lunch break on the first day of testing and expressed his surprise to see the comments published to the F1 world.
“I was slightly surprised to be reading comments I’m supposed to have been making, but there we go,” Horner told Sky F1.
“I haven’t paid a great deal of attention to [the Mercedes]. It’s obviously a fairly different concept, but that’s for the designer guys and aerodynamicists to get into.”
Asked what the next steps could be and whether there could be a protest, Horner added: “Let the guys digest it and understand it.”
The usual design of the W13 is just one that could yet have the teams asking questions of the FIA.
Protests, though, will have to wait until the Bahrain Grand Prix.
“There are already lots of teams looking at various bits on other cars and going, ‘hang on, I didn’t think we were allowed to do that!’” said Sky Sports’ Ted Kravitz.
“Every single thing is going to be objected or even protested. That’s the problem for these race directors – these two guys are coming in at a particularly red-hot time for inter-team protests.”
Red Bull deny Horner made Mercedes comments
Red Bull have denied that Christian Horner made comments surrounding the W13.