Mercedes’ strong straight-line speed has been the source of new intrigue as the World Championship battle between Team Brackley and Red Bull enters the final stages of the 2021 season.
At the Turkish Grand Prix, Mercedes appeared to have a significant top speed advantage over Red Bull over the downforce levels they were using.
As the Brackley team introduced a new engine specification after the summer break, their rival was puzzled at the scale of their earnings.
“Their straight-line speed has taken a big step forward recently, and I think while we could match them with smaller fenders before, we just can’t get anywhere near them,” said a puzzled Horner when Motorsport.com told him. asked where Mercedes’ current advantage was. came from.
After further analysis, Horner believes that Mercedes not only enjoys a power advantage over Red Bull’s Honda engines, but is convinced that it is also using a device to increase speed in a straight line, lowering allegedly the rear of the car in the straights.
“I think Mercedes are obviously optimizing a straight line machine that they are capable of doing on this type of track,” Horner told Sky in Austin during FP1. “If you look in the back of their car, you know, how it lowers. I think [Turkey] played on their strengths. “
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12
Photo By: Zak Mauger / Motorsport images
When asked about Horner’s comments, Mercedes chief Wolff dismissed what he called “noise” about his team’s advantage over Red Bull.
“I think we absolutely recognize that this is a sport where the competitors will always try to find out if there is some kind of silver bullet,” he said. “My experience is that there is no such thing, it’s all the small gains, the marginal gains that have been added and that bring performance.
“We’re really trying to understand our car better and add more lap performance without listening too much to the noise.”
When asked about his explanation for Mercedes’ dominant form in Turkey, Wolff claimed Mercedes had found the “sweet spot” to configure their 2021 car.
“I think what we were able to figure out was how to get to the sweet spot of the car, in terms of settings,” he explained.
“Today, when you look at the lap time, it’s a gain in a straight line, and I think we found the right compromise between drag and downforce.
“And on the other hand, we were really quick in the very fast corners which is good and equal to Red Bull in the slow corners. So overall the car is a lot better overall.”