Mercedes identifies key weakness of Red Bull RB16B

Mercedes believes rear tyre degradation on race day is a main weakness of Red Bull's RB16B compared to... The post Mercedes identifies key weakness of Red Bull RB16B appeared first on F1i.com.

Mercedes identifies key weakness of Red Bull RB16B

Mercedes believes rear tyre degradation on race day is a main weakness of Red Bull's RB16B compared to the reigning world champion's more "neutral" W11.

Max Verstappen has showcased in qualifying the single-lap pace of Red Bull's 2021 charger and the Dutchman has also led the most laps this season. However, he has lost out to Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton in three out of the four races held so far this year although there was little to choose between the two drivers at times.

Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin believes Red Bull's relative weakness in race trim is rooted in the RB16B's rear tyre degradation; an observation substantiated by how last Sunday's Spanish GP unfolded in favour of the Brackley squad.

But while Mercedes currently holds an edge over its Red Bull rival in the tyre department, Shovlin insists it's a tenuous advantage and one the German outfit may not enjoy at every venue.

©RedBull

"We are still not really at a stage where we go in thinking we’ve got a better race car or we are better at looking after the tyres," explained the Mercedes engineer.

"It is actually quite hard to say what it was [in the Spanish GP]. We were able to sit behind them and, when you are the lead car and someone can sit on your gearbox for a whole stint, it is not normally good news.

"But we are still in the stage of the year where we are collecting data across the different tracks. But it does look to be a bit of a trend that maybe we have got a slightly more neutral car.

"Theirs seems to be a bit harder on the rear tyres over a stint whereas we are using both axles quite well. But we will see with some more data whether that is really a feature of the car or just how we are setting it up."

  • Read also: Horner surprised by Hamilton 'bendy wing' comment

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner agreed with Shovlin's view but insisted the spread is still very tight between the two rivals.

"I think the Mercedes - and we've seen it since Bahrain - their race pace has been better than ours at each GP that we've seen so far," he said. "I think that their degradation has been better than ours.

"So we knew these last two circuits would play to their strengths. They have done that.

"But we're an awful lot closer than we have been and I think if we can find some more race pace it's still very, very tight between the two cars."

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Mazepin took a knee in Barcelona, but not for BLM

Haas rookie Nikita Mazepin explained why for the first time this season he chose to kneel along with... The post Mazepin took a knee in Barcelona, but not for BLM appeared first on F1i.com.

Mazepin took a knee in Barcelona, but not for BLM

Haas rookie Nikita Mazepin explained why for the first time this season he chose to kneel along with several of his colleagues ahead of last Sunday's Spanish GP.

Since last year, at the instigation of Lewis Hamilton, more than half of F1's drivers have followed the ritual of taking a knee during the pre-race grid ceremonial in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

Mazepin refrained from the observance in the first three races of 2021, but in Barcelona the 22-year-old Russian unexpectedly joined those who routinely kneel on the grid at each race.

However, the Haas driver's gesture was not associated with BLM or an act to protest social injustice.

"I decided to kneel to show respect to those veterans and people who lost their lives 76 years ago in the war," Mazepin said, referring to Victory Day, a holiday in Russia that commemorates the surrender of Nazi Germany in 1945.

"This holiday is quite important," the young driver told Match TV.

"My family – my grandparents – took part in the war. Yesterday I saw the statistics saying that it is a holiday that is even more important to Russians than New Year."

  • Read also: Wolff radio message showed 'who is in command' – Steiner

On the grid, Mazepin also wore a Russian military symbol, the Ribbon of St George, on his 'WeRaceAsOne' t-shirt.

One could argue that you cannot choose the cause you kneel for, as the gesture is so intertwined with the protest against the unfair treatment of black people.

But Mazepin appears to only follow his own interpretation of acts and events.

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The post Mazepin took a knee in Barcelona, but not for BLM appeared first on F1i.com.

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