Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has quashed any concerns about the W13’s legitimacy after the first day of pre-season testing in Bahrain on Thursday
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The Austrians were quick to cool down any concerns about the W13 upgrade not meeting the regulations due to F1 after Mercedes came under close scrutiny in Bahrain.
On the first day of the second round of pre-season testing in Bahrain, the Silver Arrows car came without any accessories.
This is a very different approach from the cars offered by other competitors, especially arch-rival Red Bull whose car has a kickstand.
The shape of the Mercedes is very different from the W13 that fans witnessed in Barcelona during the first round of testing – with the body in Bahrain being very narrow.
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Horner is said to have been quoted by the German publication Auto Motor und Sport like saying that Mercedes’ upgraded car is ‘against the spirit’ of the rules. He even questioned the legitimacy of their car, a suggestion that has been shut down by the reigning builder’s champions.
However, Red Bull later released a statement denying that Horner had made those claims.
And Wolff also addressed the situation, dismissing suggestions that the car violates the 2022 regulations.
“The process is very clear,” says Wolff.
“When you go in a particular direction of development, get the FIA involved in scrutinizing it – you’re exchanging data and you’re making them part of the process.
“Obviously sometimes when you introduce an innovation, it creates the kind of argument that we’re having here. That’s why that was expected.”
He added: “We have a new way of governance with the necessary supermajority.
“My opinion is that I would prefer to stay with the old system, that if a team comes up with an innovation, you might not be able to take off it if it complies with the regulations.
“The FIA and F1 will certainly handle it diligently and in a sporting spirit.
“We don’t want to run alone with it, but also contact the FIA, and that’s why I think it will be fine.”
While Red Bull denied Horner made the Mercedes comment, the Red Bull boss also denied the initial report while speaking to Sky Sports F1 also.
The 48-year-old said: “I was a bit surprised when I read the comments I should have made, but here we go.
XPB Image / PA Image)
“I didn’t pay much attention to [the Mercedes]. Obviously this is a rather different concept, but it is the reason for the designers and aerodynamicists to get involved. “
On an eventful first day of testing in Bahrain, Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly topped the table, while the Ferrari team of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc finished second and third respectively, building on their impressive outing in Barcelona last month.
Lewis Hamilton dropped to 11th place, while the defending champion Max Verstappen was not crowned a single time.
Referring to the speculation surrounding the Mercedes car, the Dutch player said he was not interested and only focused on what he could control.
“I’m not concerned,” Verstappen said. “We can only focus on ourselves, I said this so many times last year and that’s what we have to do again this year.
“Even if the car looks different, there are still a lot of unknowns that we need to learn. So I’m not worried at all.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/formula-1/toto-wolff-mercedes-sidepod-horner-26441029 Toto Wolff convinces new Mercedes to be legal despite controversy over car prices in Bahrain