Marko worried about F1 rival discovering ‘special trick’

Thu, 15 February 2024, 07:00

Feb.15 (GMM) Dr Helmut Marko admits it’s possible one of Red Bull’s closest rivals could beat the dominant Formula 1 team this year with a “special trick”.

Mercedes on Wednesday revealed and debuted at Silverstone the last Brackley-made car that Lewis Hamilton will race before his 2025 switch to Ferrari.

It is a major visible departure from the failed 2022 and 2023 concept, and also “completely different” under the skin as well, according to team boss Toto Wolff.

Part of that is the switch to Red Bull-like pushrod rear suspension, but a true innovation aboard the 2024 Mercedes was not shown in the rendered images of the new Mercedes.

Only when the car emerged in the Silverstone pitlane could what Auto Motor und Sport correspondent Tobias Gruner described as a “trick with the front wing” be seen in reality.

“The top flap is no longer attached to the inside of the nose,” he noticed. “This creates a gap between the outer part of the element and the chassis through which air can flow unhindered. We have never seen this solution in this form in any other car.”

Indeed, the creation of a so-called ‘Y250 vortex’ with the front wings in this way was banned with the introduction of the all-new aerodynamic rules of 2022.

Insiders believe Mercedes has discovered a loophole so that the uppermost flap of the front wing is technically connected to the nose – with a single, thin carbon wire.

Wolff, however, doubts Red Bull can be caught and overtaken with just a single year-on-year introduction of a new car. “There are no miracles in sport,” he said.

However, Red Bull’s Marko is wary.

“What we can say now is that our new car is an evolution of last year’s car, and we had the best package,” the energy drink brand’s top F1 consultant told Osterreich newspaper.

“If we eliminate the few weak points, not much should go wrong. But who knows – maybe a competitor has found a special trick during development,” Marko added.

A potential downside for Mercedes, meanwhile, is what Marko describes as the team’s “weakening” in the form of Hamilton’s awkward presence in 2024 whilst preparing for his move to Ferrari next year.

“George Russell will no longer be making room for Hamilton,” former F1 driver and pundit Christian Danner told the Kolner Express newspaper.

“I was told by Niki Lauda that Lewis likes to be pampered, if I can put it that way. I know he also has to be praised by Toto Wolff,” he added.

“Even in the psychological duel with Nico Rosberg, he was too sensitive and lost the 2016 title because of it.”

You may also like