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Formula 1 Bahrain March Testing

Red Bull: Mercedes F1 sidepods are "extreme", but legal

Red Bull says it has no legality concerns about the innovative Mercedes Formula 1 sidepod solution, despite suggestions it was initially questioning the design.

George Russell, Mercedes W13

Team boss Christian Horner was quoted as saying by German publication Auto Motor Und Sport on Thursday that he had doubts about the legality of the sidepods, and suggested they were not within the 'spirit of the regulations'.

Red Bull subsequently denied that Horner has spoken to the media, before later clarifying that nothing had been said as an official statement.

Speaking in public for the first time about the Mercedes design on Friday, Horner clarified that his team’s latest analysis was that the sidepod did fully comply with the rules.

“Mercedes has come up with an extreme [solution], that's a different interpretation,” explained Horner.

“But to answer the next question, whether we think it's legal or not? Yes, absolutely. It looks like it ticks all the boxes.”

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Asked why his tone had changed following comments made to respected journalist Michael Schmidt, Horner said: “Well, I think you know, comments have been quoted that certainly weren't made.

“I think that the car, it is obviously innovative. It is an interesting solution, as far as we are concerned.

“The Mercedes car looks like it complies with the regulations. It's just a different interpretation, a different solution.”

Christian Horner, Team Principal Red Bull Racing

Christian Horner, Team Principal Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

While Ferrari is among the teams to voice that some facets of the Mercedes design push the wording of the regulations to the limit – such as in the design around the mirror region – Horner played down the idea of them going against even the spirit of the rules.

“There's not really anything that defines the spirit of the regulation; it either complies or it doesn't,” added Horner.

“That's not really for us to judge. The FIA have the access to all of the drawings. A design like that would have surely been submitted in advance.

“It's an interesting concept, it's a radical concept. So: is it quick or not? Only time will tell, but in terms of its compliance, that's very much an FIA matter.”

PLUS: What we learned on day one of the second 2022 F1 test

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff had been clear from the moment the sidepods were revealed that he was never worried about there being any doubts over its legality.

“The process is very clear, when you go in a specific development direction with your team, having the FIA as part of scrutinising it, you're exchanging CAD data and making them part of the process,” Wolff said in Bahrain.

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