Formula 1: This Mercedes trick makes Mercedes unbeatable

After the superior victory of Mercedes defending champion Lewis Hamilton (36) at the Brazilian GP, ​​Red Bull has his back to the wall. Three races before the end of the world championship, Red Bull super talent Max Verstappen (24) still has a 14-point lead over the seven-time world champion from Mercedes – but he can easily take the title with three wins on his own.
“If Hamilton is so superior at the weekend in Qatar and then in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, we can write off the title,” said Red Bull Motorsport Director Helmut Marko (78) told ABMS.

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Alone: ​​Why Hamilton was suddenly racing in a league of its own in Sao Paulo is a puzzling issue at Red Bull. Background: The seven-time world champion, who had to tackle the sprint race shortened to 24 laps on Saturday due to an illegal rear wing, was able to overtake 15 cars and easily finished fifth.
The speed difference on the long straight was particularly striking. Hamilton was stopped in the sprint at start-finish at 340 km / h, the two Red Bull drivers Verstappen and Perez only with 321 and 325 kilometers per hour, respectively. Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas even sneaked around the course in Sao Paulo at 304 km / h. Mercedes explains the difference between the two teammates from the sum of slipstream, DRS and the new engine that Hamilton got for the race in Brazil.

In the race on Sunday, the Englishman’s superiority was similarly clear. There he started from tenth place because of his new engine (five starting places penalty). He flew through the field and in the end could not be prevented from winning by a Verstappen with a knife between his teeth.

Marko therefore still seemed at a loss on Tuesday and at the end of his wisdom. “I’ve never seen a Mercedes rocket motor like this,” he drew a sobering conclusion in an interview with ABMS. “We couldn’t keep Hamilton on the straight, even though he was driving with a rear wing that was set up as steeply as in Monaco. But only Hamilton has this speed, the other Mercedes drivers are nothing to worry about. “

The Austrians are now working day and night to uncover the Mercedes (Hamilton) secret. Marko: “We are mainly concerned with two things that we may also bring up to the FIA ​​for clarification. But there will only be a protest when we have evidence that something about Hamilton’s car does not comply with the rules. “

Hamilton flew through the field and in the end could not be prevented from winning by Verstappen.

ABMS knows: The two things are the Hamilton engine and a mysterious system that can lower the W12 on the straight, drastically reducing drag and increasing top speed. When braking, the car lifts up again and is fully in the airstream again to generate maximum downforce for the corners.

This fits: Red Bull has on-board recordings of the Hamilton Black Arrow from Sao Paulo. They show how the Briton pulls his steering wheel towards him by millimeters when braking for the first corner. The technicians are still puzzling whether the mysterious system could be actively triggered by the driver in this way.

But it is questionable whether the FIA ​​inspectors find anything illegal in Hamilton’s racing car. Neither the engine nor the chassis. It is forbidden to develop the drive units that are frozen by the regulations during the season in order to generate more power. However, you can work on the engine to increase reliability. It was previously Mercedes’ Achilles heel. That is why the engine forge in Brixworth (GB) has started exactly there and once again improved the durability for the season’s final spurt.

In a nutshell: While Mercedes customers are only allowed to drive with limited power due to reliability concerns, Hamilton can call up full power for around 1000 kilometers thanks to its internal combustion engine freshly installed in Brazil. According to experts, this difference alone should make up to 25 hp. An advantage from which Hamilton can theoretically benefit until the final. Only then does the performance decrease, according to Mercedes team boss Wolff.

The rest comes from the sophisticated hydraulic damper system, which specifically lowers the car when accelerating. Active chassis that electronically regulate the ground clearance and the interaction of the dampers are prohibited. However, if the driver gives the triggering command via the steering wheel, for example, that would be legal. That could explain Hamilton’s pulling and pushing on the steering wheel.

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The fact is: the technology itself is not new. As early as 2014, the front and rear axles were networked via the so-called FRIC system, which was then banned. Since then, various top teams have been using pre-set dampers to lower cars further when accelerating if the vehicle is already buckling at the rear. Red Bull believes that Mercedes is actively reinforcing this functionality on Lewis Hamilton’s car by giving the command to the driver on the steering wheel.

It is quite possible that the world championship team has been using it since the start of the season. But it is only since Silverstone’s aerodynamics upgrade that Mercedes has been able to exploit the advantages better and better. In addition, it doesn’t work as efficiently on routes with many fast corners as it does on slopes with a mix of curves and long straights – such as Brazil, but also the upcoming slopes in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.
Red Bull wants to have the legality of the system checked now. The extremely close championship fight will not only be decided on the track in the last three races, but also on the green table.

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Formula 1 will run at Sky in 2021. The station is setting up its own TV station for the new era: Sky Formula 1. Here there is motorsport 24 hours a day. All training sessions, all qualifying sessions, all races always live and without commercial breaks. Sky also broadcasts the Formula 2, Formula 3 and Porsche Supercup races. The program also includes historical races and special programs. You can find more information here

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