The fight for the title between Mercedes and Red Bull is still totally open, despite the silver arrows showed something more on the track, in terms of pure performance of the car, than the Austrian team.
The speed Mercedes in the straights is undeniable, many speculated there was something about the engine that made the car so performing, but yesterday to the Sky Sports F1 microphones, when they mentioned "something to do with air valves deep in the engine", Team Principal Wolff replied : “You are being fed with a lot of bulls ** t. But the questions are interesting. "
The numerous change of Power Units, including Bottas' one this week on the American circuit of Austin has led anyone to ask themselves such questions, but Toto Wolff explained that the engine has nothing to do with the speed Mercedes was able to show in the straights, and that instead it deals with an aerodynamic question.
“We don’t need to talk about air valves or anything like this because you and I wouldn’t understand what it is.”
Also Christian Horner, Red Bull Team Principal, told Sky Sports F1 that Mercedes had found a way to maximise the aerodynamic stall at the rear of the car on the straights, reducing the car’s drag levels, also referring to what everyone saw during free practice, that showed how much the rear of bot cars was compressing at high speed.
But it’s not just aero, Toto Wolff explained. Mercedes was able to find the right balance and it was “able to understand how to hit the sweet spot of the car in terms of the set-up” he said after Friday’s FIA press conference.
“When you look at the laptime it’s a straightline gain and I think we’ve found the right compromise between drag and downforce,” – the Austrian said - “And on the other side we were very quick through the fast corners, which is good, and equal to Red Bull on the slow speed corners, so overall the car’s much better together.”
“What I enjoy watching is the intellectual process in the team around how to hit the sweet spot,” he said when asked about the significance of that package.
“Obviously we’ve introduced that upgrade in Silverstone and since then have comprehended every race a little bit better how to extract the maximum performance.
“Now since Sochi, then in Turkey, and also here, it proves to be definitely the right path.”
On what Horner said, he replied:
“We recognise absolutely that this is a sport where competitors will always try to find out whether there is some kind of silver bullet. My experience is there is no such thing. It’s all the small gains, marginal gains, that have been added in and bring performance.
“We’re trying to really comprehend our car better and add performance in laptime without listening too much to the noise."