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Formula 1: Red Bull is warned The Mercedes bluff in Abu Dhabi

The great Mercedes bluff in Abu Dhabi

Red Bull won the final in Abu Dhabi with ease. But did Mercedes really deliver a realistic picture there?

D.he euphoric faces are still on the screen: Red Bull mechanics hugged each other after the last race in 2020 in Abu Dhabi and gave the impression that they had won the world title – not just a race. Team boss Christian Horner was certain that Max Verstappen’s victory was the turning point in the seemingly impossible fight against the overwhelming power from Stuttgart.
He was sure that after hard work and countless updates, Red Bull and Honda had finally found the key with which to crack Mercedes.

Lewis Hamilton was not 100% back in Abu Dhabi after his corona infection

© LAT / Mercedes

At Mercedes, the cheerful mood from the enemy camp was accepted. Red Bull’s strength was praised and it was acknowledged that Abu Dhabi was no match for the beverage producers from Austria. Strange: Still, there was no sign of hectic or frustration. Toto Wolff’s admission of defeat was more like someone who knew exactly why he lost. Who wrote the script for the last race and gave up the lead on purpose.

Alone: ​​Not only AUTO BILD Motorsport believes that Mercedes has deliberately given the victory to lull the supposed main opponent for the 2021 season in safety. At Red Bull, too, there are high-ranking team members who have seen through the bluff of the Daimler strategists around the Viennese slacker Toto Wolff.

There are three arguments that give Red Bull food for thought and that could have masked the true Mercedes strengths.

First: Mercedes turned down its monster engine by almost 50 hp in qualifying and the race. The world championship team even confirmed this and justified the measure with reliability problems, which then also tore Sergio Perez ‘Racing Point-Mercedes out of the race. Alone: ​​Red Bull believes that Mercedes didn’t have to sacrifice horsepower, but wanted to. GPS data from Red Bull and Honda should prove that.

Second: Unlike Red Bull, Mercedes used aerodynamic parts in Abu Dhabi (e.g. an underbody) that were already tailored for 2021. With the current car, therefore, no optimal coordination was possible. In return, Mercedes received valuable data for the new car.

Hamilton not yet fit

Third: World champion Lewis Hamilton himself admitted that he was physically not quite up to date in Abu Dhabi after having just survived the corona infection.

Overall, the ABMS source suspects, “all of this made Mercedes half a second slower than normal per lap. At least. They want to make us safe. In order to strike again during the first test drives and then to put the opponents in a collective state of shock at the start of the season, as it actually does every year. “

If the numbers assumed by Red Bull are correct, the result in Abu Dhabi does not reflect the true performance profile. In the race, after 55 laps, Verstappen was 16 seconds ahead of Valtteri Bottas and 18.5 seconds ahead of his ailing team-mate Lewis Hamilton. If Mercedes had driven in normal form and half a second faster per lap, you would have won.

Qualifying would have turned out similarly: With 25 thousandths of a second, Verstappen just got the upper hand against the “Mogel-Mercedes”. The “Black Arrow” in normal mode would not have given the Red Bull a chance.

The great Mercedes bluff in Abu Dhabi

Helmut Marko

© Red Bull Content Pool

Chief advisor Helmut Marko (77) saw through the Mercedes deception tactics. At F1-Insider.com he is aware that the performance in Abu Dhabi was not realistic: “I know that Mercedes slowed itself down. I said that to my euphoric English people on the team. We will therefore not slow down our development, but develop as if we had to catch up. “

Nevertheless, the doctor of law is certain: “We caught up in the course of the 2020 season. We could have won the second race in Bahrain if Max hadn’t been cleared by Leclerc. ”

Alone: ​​That was the race in which youngster George Russell (the Mercedes junior was loaned from Williams) had shone as a Hamilton replacement and Bottas was completely off the track. That should definitely be included in this optimistic calculation.

One thing is certain: Red Bull and Honda must be warned. Otherwise there will be great disillusionment again in 2021.

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