Red Bull team principal Christian Horner suspects rivals Mercedes have had a means of lowering their ride height on straights to boost their top speed for several races.Valtteri Bottas’ W12 lowering itself on the straight during the race at Istanbul Park. This is believed to stall the car’s diffuser, increasing its straight-line speed, a strength Red Bull noted after the last race.
Asked whether Red Bull could respond to the innovation, Horner said: “We’ve got to focus on our strengths. It’s not something that they’ve just introduced.”
He suspects the system may be more powerful at some venues than others. “I think it works well at some circuits, perhaps it’s not as use-able at others,” Horner said. “We will see.
“We’ve got some interesting venues coming up that have got all kinds of different challenges so it’s going to stretch both teams to the limit.”
Reliability remains a concern for Mercedes, who have accepted another grid penalty for Bottas this weekend after exceeding his maximum allocation of power unit parts for the third time.
“They’re obviously weighing up that risk versus reward,” commented Horner. “It’s very unusual for Mercedes [who] have been obviously the benchmark of reliability the last six, seven years. It’s unusual that they’re in this situation.”
“We are pushing them hard this year,” he added. “We’re really throwing everything at this season and pretty much every race we’ve managed to give him a hard time.”
Many teams have ceased development of their cars in order to focus on the new technical regulations coming into force next year. However Horner indicated Red Bull could still bring updates to the RB16B before the final race of the season in less than two months’ time.
“Obviously 2022 is a big factor within all the teams at the moment, so it’s making the best of what we have,” he said. “If there’s something that we can get on the car, obviously we will.”
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2021 United States Grand Prix
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