Red Bull and Mercedes have been locking horns a lot recently. From bickering about Flexi-wings or party modes, these two teams love a protest. Today is no exception.
With the news that Red Bull are now lodging a “petition for review” for the Stewards to re-evaluate Hamilton’s Penalty from the British Grand Prix, we looked back at all the times Red Bull and Mercedes have essentially told the teacher on each other.
THE SILVERSTONE CRASH
We know the score here. Hamilton was given a 10-second penalty for the colossal accident on the first lap of the 2021 British Grand Prix that left Max Verstappen out of the race and being checked over in hospital.
The war of words afterwards has been quite the spectacle. Red Bull wasn’t too impressed with Hamilton, who went on to win the race. Max and team boss Christian Horner called the Mercedes team unsporting for celebrating the victory and Lewis “desperate”.
Lights out and away we go!
HAMILTON AND VERSTAPPEN COLLIDE! 💥
Verstappen is out of the car.
Red Flag 🚩
— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) July 18, 2021
The 51G crash has cost the team $1.8million, a big chunk of their budget for the year.
Now they’ve launched a petition to review the penalty. Red Bull need to bring substantial new evidence that wasn’t available at the time for the protest to be taken seriously, but they’re obviously confident they can provide that. This will decide if they reopen the investigation so it won’t penalise Lewis more, but it could be the start of the process.
HAMILTON, AUSTRIA AND THE YELLOW FLAG
Red Bull did successfully bring new evidence when they protested Lewis Hamilton in Austria last year.
Valtteri Bottas had gone off when he was on provisional pole position and was on the grass when Hamilton passed on the track. Lewis was investigated for not slowing down enough because he allegedly hadn’t seen a waved flag. The FIA took no further action.
— Lawrence Barretto (@lawrobarretto) July 5, 2020
Red Bull disagreed and presented footage from the 360° camera on the front of Hamilton’s car to show a yellow flag on a board in front of him. Half an hour before the race, Hamilton was given a three-place grid penalty, and Max moved to the front row. So protests do work.
DAS, or Dual-Axis Steering, is a sneaky little trick Mercedes used last year to help them change the alignment of the front wheels. This gave them more stability in the corners and less drag on the straights, a win-win!
It’s all marginal stuff, but the big point was that Hamilton and Bottas had to pull the steering wheel forwards towards them to make it work. The whole thing massively annoyed Red Bull, who protested at the first race after lockdown in Austria. They said that it was an illegal moveable aerodynamic device and that it was altering suspension.
Was ist DAS? 🤔 A quick animation of Merc’s innovation that changes the toe angle of the front wheels, potentially bringing with it all sorts of benefits to aerodynamics, handling, cooling and more. pic.twitter.com/8lUtlo1pYE
— WTF1 (@wtf1official) February 22, 2020
It was a long shot from Red Bull because Mercedes had been in an open discussion about the system with the FIA, and the protest was dismissed. It did become illegal for the 2021 season, though.
The “party mode” was the nickname for Mercedes’ super quick qualifying engine mode. For years Red Bull complained about it being too fast. Almost every week, they’d complain about the rules.
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) November 1, 2020
They believed that the qualifying mode was “distorting the competition” because Mercedes could pull massive gaps in qualifying and then lead from pole to the win. The FIA brought in a rule change, meaning teams could only run one power unit mode in qualifying and the race.
MERCEDES’ TESTING ILLEGALLY
In 2013, Mercedes did a Pirelli test with their current car, which went against the ban on in-season testing. The FIA had permitted them to do the test, but Red Bull still protested. They found that Mercedes did potentially gain a sporting advantage, and they were banned from a scheduled young driver test later on and reprimanded.
This didn’t seem like much of a punishment to other teams who think they basically got away with it. There was a big hearing for it too, which happened at the FIA’s headquarters in Paris.
This one’s from a few races ago! It’s all about Red Bull and Mercedes, both running illegal wings.
When under heavy loads on track, they would flex and straighten out. This reduced drag and helped straight-line speed. We did a full feature about it which you can read here. Mercedes threatened to protest Red Bull, and who threatened to do it back! You might remember, Toto even called Christian a windbag! It was just one big petty fight.
“Christian [Horner] is a bit of a windbag,” Toto Wolff says on @SkySportF1.
— Katy Fairman (@katyfairman) June 5, 2021
That debate came to nothing in the end, but it proved one thing: they love an argument with each other.