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Formula 1 Canadian GP

Mercedes suspects Red Bull's F1 upgrade has been a "downgrade"

Mercedes has a suspicion that Red Bull's current Formula 1 struggles could be the result of a recent upgrade package actually delivering a "downgrade" in performance.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20

Red Bull has lost two of the last three F1 races, and Max Verstappen's triumph at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix only came after he was able to hold off a late-race charge by Lando Norris, who finished right behind him.

While the focus of Red Bull's difficulties has revolved around the troubles the RB20 has with kerb-riding, Mercedes technical director James Allison thinks that the situation could be more involved than that.

He reckons that the big upgrade package Red Bull took to Imola which included a new floor and front wing may not actually have delivered the step hoped for, which could explain its difficulties.

"I guess as soon as there's a decent range of cornering speeds, they'll be useful again, but it does look as if their upgrade was a downgrade," explained Allison at the Canadian Grand Prix about what he felt was going on at Red Bull.

"So, fingers crossed that would really mess them up.

"That [an upgrade not working] makes life hard, because the moment you stop trusting your tools, you have to backtrack, and you lose loads of time. Time is your biggest friend, losing it is your worst enemy."

Asked if seeing Red Bull fall back into the pack had given Mercedes a spark of excitement, Allison said: "Everyone always loves other people's misery in this game."

James Allison, Technical Director, Mercedes-AMG F1 Team, in the Team Principals Press Conference

James Allison, Technical Director, Mercedes-AMG F1 Team, in the Team Principals Press Conference

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Mercedes has brought further upgrade elements to its W15 at this weekend's Canadian Grand Prix to help bolster the impact of a new front wing that George Russell used in Monaco.

The team has hopes that the changes, which included some revisions to the profiling of the front suspension, can help improve the way its car performs across both high and low-speed corners.

But while feeling that progress had been made with the car, Allison did not want to get too carried away about the overall spread of cars at the front.

"I have to confess, I'm not really thinking of it in big-picture terms like that," he said. "I'm just thinking where we are now appears to be somewhat better than we were two races ago.

"Hopefully, we will be somewhat better in a couple of races from now.

"We've gone from being really embarrassingly crap, not good enough, at the beginning of the year, to be near the fight. A little bit more will get us right in the melee."

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