When the DRS is open, the distance between the two rear wing profiles exceeds the permissible value of 85 millimeters. This reduces the air resistance more than allowed and thus brings an advantage.
Hamilton threatens disqualification and a start in the sprint race (Saturday, 8.30 p.m.) from the very back. A verdict from the racing stewards is still pending.
But the cabinet of curiosities around qualifying goes even further: Max Verstappen’s behavior after qualifying is also being examined. The Red Bull star checked the rear wing of his World Cup rival in Parc Fermée and touched the Mercedes. This is officially not allowed – even if Sebastian alias “Inspector” Vettel has always spied in the Parc Fermée and also tackled strange cars. From a fine to a starting place penalty, everything seems possible.
But why was Verstappen so interested in his opponent’s rear wing anyway? Apparently Red Bull had the spoiler in their sights even before qualifying, but for a completely different reason.
Since Silverstone, the energy drink giant’s team has been wondering why Mercedes is always picking up the pace at the end of a straight. Various theories haunt the paddock and the task force that the team founded especially for this purpose. Most recently it was suspected that Mercedes was lowering the entire rear end. In Brazil, Red Bull apparently got the riddle on the track.
The latest suspicion: from a speed of 260, one element of the Mercedes folds down and thus reduces the aerodynamic drag. Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko to F1-Insider.com: “That has nothing to do with the DRS irregularity that is now being investigated. In principle, it’s similar to what they accused us of in the first half of the season. ”At that time, the world association from Baku had tightened the rules on the flexibility of wings, Red Bull and a few other teams had to adjust their rear wings.
This fits: Before qualifying, Red Bull presented the FIA with relevant evidence. They wanted to avert a protest in the current World Cup final, instead giving the opponent the chance to disarm at the behest of the FIA, so that from now on they would fight with the same weapons.
This is probably one of the reasons why Jo Bauer’s FIA technicians were sensitized and attached particular importance to checking the rear wing.
It was noticeable that Hamilton’s car was too far away when the DRS was open. According to Red Bull, Mercedes argues with a manufacturing defect. Because Botta’s Black Arrow was legal – but also 5.5 km / h slower on the straight.
In the paddock, Verstappen is known as “Supermax” or “Max, the steel one”.
One thing is certain: The World Cup duel is gaining momentum – also politically. The judgments are expected in the early afternoon German time.