JULY 5, 2020
Technical controversies fire up in Austria
Technical controversy has returned to Formula 1 as the sport finally emerges from its long coronavirus slumber.
On the first day of practice in Austria, Red Bull lodged an official protest against Mercedes' 'DAS' steering system.
"Red Bull is trying to distract Mercedes. It's mind games," former F1 driver Robert Doornbos told Ziggo Sport.
However, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner insists that steering wheels are for steering left and right, describing what Mercedes is doing to adjust the toe angle while the car is in motion as a "grey area".
"A clarification is always good," Mercedes' Toto Wolff replied. "We think we are on the right side."
Indeed, almost seven hours after the protest was lodged, the stewards confirmed that Mercedes can continue to use the system that will nevertheless be banned in 2021.
Red Bull may therefore have to continue working on its own version of DAS.
"It's certainly something that would be under evaluation for the rest of this year," said Horner.
Another brewing controversy is about Racing Point's 'pink Mercedes'. 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve told Le Point that it is clearly a 'B Mercedes' customer car.
And in Austria, it could even be quicker than the Ferraris.
"Racing Point has pushed it to an extreme this year," said Renault's Cyril Abiteboul.
"If Racing Point complies with the regulations then they have nothing to worry about obviously."
McLaren driver Carlos Sainz added: "They are way too far away to try to take the fight to them."
And finally, multiple teams remain unhappy about the confidential agreement reached between Ferrari and the FIA over the legality of the Italian team's 2019 engine.
"We are not happy about last year," Mercedes' Wolff said. "To be competitive against them, it stretched all of us to a point where it was difficult to cope.
"Let's wait and see how the season starts, and we will then re-assess for ourselves, and probably with the other guys, where it stands."