The battle between the two title rivals is happening not just on the track, but off it as well, with the front wing of the Mercedes W12 and the rear wing of the Red Bull RB16B very much at the centre of attention.
Red Bull’s ‘limbo’ rear wing was first mentioned in the media by Lewis Hamilton at the Spanish Grand Prix, something which Mercedes believe gave their rivals as much as three-tenth advantage as it flexed up and down when transitioning between corners and straights.
As a result, the FIA are introducing a stricter testing procedure which will eventually see that flexing minimised. However, as it stands, those tests will not be introduced until after the Azerbaijan Grand Prix and, even after that event, there will still be a 20% allowance on passing the test for a further month.
That process is creating a scenario where official protests could be launched in the lead-up to race day in Baku, but Red Bull are preparing their own line attack by potentially protesting Mercedes’ front wing, which has also shown a lot of movement in some on-board footage in previous races this season.
Marko once again mentioned Mercedes’ front wing when discussing the possible fight the two teams could be having off the track next week.
“We find this a bit strange,” Marko said in an interview with Formel1.de.
“The FIA has decided that the rules for the test, especially for the torsion resistance, will be changed. This will apply from Paul Ricard onwards. That is a very clear statement and regulation.
“If Mr Wolff thinks that is too late for him – in my opinion, it is still the FIA that determines the procedure. If he does that [protest], he is free to do so.
“But I think he should also look at his front wings. Because on ServusTV and also on Sky, there was a recording where you saw how drastically this front wing approaches the ground.”
Marko went on to say that making changes to the rear wing is nothing new for Red Bull, who have always complied with the regulations in this particular area.
“We had to make improvements each time,” Marko said. “A deadline was set and we made improvements within this period. That is a normal process.
“At the moment, we are on the road with a legal car. And at Paul Ricard, we will put a corresponding reinforcement on our rear wing.”
Meanwhile, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has already said that if Red Bull do protest the W12’s front wing, then they will do exactly the same with the Red Bull front wing as he believes it moves just as much as theirs does.