New Mercedes ‘ticks all the boxes’ of legality - Horner

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New Mercedes ‘ticks all the boxes’ of legality - Horner

Formula 1

New Mercedes ‘ticks all the boxes’ of legality - Horner

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes the new Mercedes design that has appeared at the Bahrain test is completely legal, despite reports to the contrary.

Horner was quoted as saying Red Bull felt the Mercedes sidepod and crash structure design was against regulations when the car first emerged on Thursday, but the team denies he made such comments. Speaking about the new Mercedes on Friday, Horner says Red Bull has analyzed the concept and believes it to be fully legal, as well as a positive sign about how varied the different cars can be.

“I think it’s interesting — it’s very innovative, what Mercedes has come up with,” Horner said. “It’s quite a different concept to the concept that we pursued and some of the others have. It shows the creativity even within constrictive regulations in Formula 1, that very different solutions are coming out. Whether it’s the right route or whatever, only time will tell.

“What we see in F1, there tends to be convergence over a period of time on design philosophies. But what’s so good about this sport is you get a clean sheet of paper, you get 10 different interpretations. Mercedes has come up with an extreme one that’s a different interpretation. To answer your next question of whether we think it’s illegal or not, yes absolutely, it looks like it ticks all the boxes.

“I think comments have been quoted that certainly weren’t made. I think the car is obviously innovative; it’s an interesting solution. I think as far as we’re concerned, the Mercedes car looks like it complies with the regulations. It’s just a different interpretation, a different solution.”

Horner said he was expecting am extreme Mercedes design this week after rumors started circulating in the lead-up to the test, but warns people shouldn’t expect a different solution is necessarily the most effective one.

“The jungle drums speak fairly loudly on these things in F1 and there’s been rumors of fairly radical interpretations. Obviously visually it’s quite a departure from the concepts that certainly we’ve taken and quite a few other teams have taken. That doesn’t mean to say it’s naturally better or worse. It’s just a different interpretation — of course there’s compromises that have been made with their layout to accommodate that. It’s impossible to draw any conclusions other than obviously it looks very different.

“For me, the car that looks the most settled on the circuit at the moment is Ferrari. I think they’ve had a very strong testing period so far both in Barcelona and in Bahrain. So I would say they’ve looked extremely competitive whenever they’ve been on track. You have to remember that these cars are still very immature — the rate of development will be fast and intense. I expect that to change and Mercedes are going to be a huge factor in this championship, I’ve no doubt.”

Formula 1 managing director of motorsports Ross Brawn admits he didn’t see such a solution being developed by a team under the new regulations and would need to understand if it impacts the intent of the rules, but Horner has no complaints about the Mercedes potentially proving detrimental in that aspect.

“There’s not really anything that defines the spirit of the regulations — it either complies or it doesn’t. It’s not really for us to judge. The FIA has the access to all of the drawings — a design like that surely would’ve been submitted in advance. It’s an interesting concept, it’s a radical concept. Is it quick or not? Only time will tell but in terms of its compliance, that’s very much an FIA matter.”

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