Marko: Wolff ‘should look at his front wings’ amid F1 protest warnings

Helmut Marko has warned Mercedes chief Toto Wolff that he should “look at his front wings” as Formula 1 heads for possible protests in Baku over flexi-wings.

Marko: Wolff ‘should look at his front wings’ amid F1 protest warnings

F1 teams have been engaged in debate over the stability of rear wings since the Spanish Grand Prix, when Lewis Hamilton passed comment about Red Bull running a “bendy wing”.

The FIA has since moved to clamp down on the flexi-wings by introducing new rigidity tests that will come into force from the French Grand Prix. 

But Mercedes and McLaren were left unhappy that the FIA had not introduced the tests sooner, meaning teams such as Red Bull, Ferrari and Alfa Romeo could still take advantage of the rule loophole in Azerbaijan next week.

Mercedes team principal Wolff warned in Monaco that F1 was heading for a “very messy” situation if the FIA did not issue clarification before the Baku weekend, indicating the case could lead to a protest. 

But Red Bull advisor Marko felt the FIA had made it clear when the new tests would come into force, and indicated Red Bull may look to counter-protest Mercedes over the flexibility of its front wing.

“We find this a bit strange,” Marko said in an exclusive interview with Autosport's sister publication Formel1.de.

“The FIA has decided that the rules for the test, especially for the torsion resistance, will be changed. This will apply from Paul Ricard onwards. That is a very clear statement and regulation. 

“If Mr Wolff thinks that is too late for him - in my opinion, it is still the FIA that determines the procedure. If he does that [protest], he is free to do so.

“But I think he should also look at his front wings. Because on ServusTV and also on Sky, there was a recording where you saw how drastically this front wing approaches the ground.”

Helmut Marko, Consultant, Red Bull Racing, Toto Wolff, Executive Director Mercedes AMG F1

Helmut Marko, Consultant, Red Bull Racing, Toto Wolff, Executive Director Mercedes AMG F1

Photo by: Andrew Hone / Motorsport Images

Asked if Red Bull could protest against Mercedes’ front wing, Marko said: “Right.”

It is not the first time that Red Bull has made reference to the flexibility of the front wing on Mercedes’ W12 F1 car amid the ongoing saga.

Wolff said on Sky Sports last weekend that Mercedes had checked its front wing and found it was “bending exactly the same way as the Red Bull”, and that the teams “could be protesting each other on the front wing also”.

Wolff added: “But it's clear that the rear wing bends more than it should. Under the rules, it has been classified as non conformance.”

Marko said Red Bull had been forced to make similar changes to its car back in 2012 and 2013 when stricter tests were introduced, but said they were always done in accordance with deadlines.

"We had to make improvements each time,” Marko said. “A deadline was set and we made improvements within this period. That is a normal process.

“At the moment, we are on the road with a legal car. And at Paul Ricard, we will put a corresponding reinforcement on our rear wing.”

Marko did acknowledge that the debate over flexi-wings was “not championship-deciding” in the fight between Red Bull and Mercedes, with the teams separated by just one point at the top of the constructors’ standings.

shares
comments

Related video

Opportunity of a lifetime: A fallen Indycar star's Jaguar F1 test
Previous article

Opportunity of a lifetime: A fallen Indycar star's Jaguar F1 test

Next article

The politics-laden Ferrari that climaxed the Enzo era

The politics-laden Ferrari that climaxed the Enzo era
The inconvenient truth about F1’s ‘American driver’ dream Plus

The inconvenient truth about F1’s ‘American driver’ dream

OPINION: The Formula 1 grid's wait for a new American driver looks set to continue into 2023 as the few remaining places up for grabs - most notably at McLaren - look set to go elsewhere. This is despite the Woking outfit giving tests to IndyCar aces recently, showing that the Stateside single-seater series still has some way to go to being seen as a viable feeder option for F1

How a bad car creates the ultimate engineering challenge Plus

How a bad car creates the ultimate engineering challenge

While creating a car that is woefully off the pace is a nightmare scenario for any team, it inadvertently generates the test any engineering department would relish: to turn it into a winner. As Mercedes takes on that challenge in Formula 1 this season, McLaren’s former head of vehicle engineering reveals how the team pulled of the feat in 2009 with Lewis Hamilton

Formula 1
Aug 15, 2022
The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future Plus

The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future

Personable, articulate 
and devoid of the usual
 racing driver airs and graces,
 Nicholas Latifi is the last Formula 1 driver you’d expect to receive death threats, but such was the toxic legacy of his part in last year’s explosive season finale. And now, as ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains, he faces a battle to keep his place on the F1 grid…

Formula 1
Aug 13, 2022
The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes Plus

The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes

Modern grand prix drivers like to think the tyres they work with are unusually difficult and temperamental. But, says  MAURICE HAMILTON, their predecessors faced many of the same challenges – and some even stranger…

Formula 1
Aug 12, 2022
The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1 Plus

The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1

Gordon Murray's Brabham BT46B 'fan car' was Formula 1 engineering at perhaps its most outlandish. Now fan technology has been successfully utilised on the McMurtry Speirling at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, could it be adopted by grand prix racing once again?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold Plus

Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold

The seven-time Formula 1 world champion has been lumbered with a duff car before the 2022 Mercedes. Back in 2009, McLaren’s alchemists transformed the disastrous MP4-24 into a winning car with Lewis Hamilton at the wheel. And now it’s happening again at his current team, but can the rate of progress be matched this year?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Why few could blame Leclerc for following the example of Hamilton’s exit bombshell Plus

Why few could blame Leclerc for following the example of Hamilton’s exit bombshell

OPINION: Ferrari's numerous strategy blunders, as well as some of his own mistakes, have cost Charles Leclerc dearly in the 2022 Formula 1 title battle in the first half of the season. Though he is locked into a deal with Ferrari, few could blame Leclerc if he ultimately wanted to look elsewhere - just as Lewis Hamilton did with McLaren 10 years prior

Formula 1
Aug 9, 2022
The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat Plus

The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat

After being ditched by McLaren earlier in his F1 career Sergio Perez fought his way back into a seat with a leading team. BEN EDWARDS thinks the same could be happening to another member of the current grid

Formula 1
Aug 8, 2022