Mercedes denies F1 rear wing has score marks

With the intensity of the F1 title battle between the top two teams ramping up with three races remaining, Red Bull is placing a growing focus on the behaviour of its rival’s rear wing.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner made it clear in Qatar on Friday that he felt Mercedes could be breaking the rules with its design, and would be ready to protest in the final events.

In a tense exchange with Mercedes boss Toto Wolff at an official FIA press conference on Friday, Horner suggested that marks on rear wing parts pointed to some unexplained trickery.

“When you have a 27 kilometre [per hour] difference, and you see marks on rear end plates that have been marking up from wings that have been flexing… It’s very clear to us what has been going on,” he said.

But Mercedes has brushed off Horner’s comments. The team says it has inspected the wings and found no such evidence of any marks.

Head of trackside engineering Andrew Shovlin was clear that the world champion squad has asked the FIA to check on its car several times and on every occasion it has been happy.

Asked about Horner’s suggestions of score marks on the rear wing endplates, Shovlin told Sky: “Well we’ve had a look at it, and there are no score marks. So we’re not quite sure what that is.

“But it seems to be a bit of a story that’s not going away. From our point of view, we’re absolutely happy with what we’ve got on the car.

“We’ve invited the FIA to look at it as much as they want, and they don’t have any issue with what we’ve got. We go to every circuit, we look at what the fastest wing we have is, and that’s the one that we’ll bolt to the car. And that’s what we’ll keep doing.”

Rear wing on the car of Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12

Rear wing on the car of Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Amid a tense political situation between Mercedes and Red Bull, Shovlin said that his squad was not getting distracted by what was happening elsewhere in the paddock.

“There are a few sort of mortar shells going across in both directions, probably,” he said. “But you know, the team has really come together.

“What was encouraging to see was, with a weekend like we just had in Brazil, with so much distraction in so many different areas, whether it was with the team or with Lewis, it was just heads down and get on with the job.

“We’ve shown the car has the pace to do that. I think Brazil was fantastic for our confidence that we can bring both these championships home. But it’s an amazing place at the moment. It’s just everyone’s working so hard to deliver that.”

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