Mercedes chief dismisses suggestions that Red Bull's inherent advantage over the rest comes down to a single factor

F1 Grand Prix of Canada
Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB19 on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Canada at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 18, 2023 in Montreal, Quebec. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

Mercedes Technical Director James Allison believes that Red Bull’s RB19 has some inherent qualities that make it superior to the rest, but it isn't down to just one factor. The Briton felt that it was a simplistic design that delivered a lot of downforce and suited every track on the calendar.

Speaking to Auto Motor und Sport, the Mercedes technical director said:

“I think it’s too simplistic and doesn’t do justice to the quality that’s in this car. I don’t think Red Bull is going much lower than the rest of the field. I also don’t think they are less affected by bouncing than others. They have a very efficient car that generates a lot of downforce with a low rear wing setting.
"And they have cornering behaviour that gives the drivers more confidence than we have. I see no reason why we shouldn’t move in that direction. We saw that mainly at the beginning of the season. Where on certain tracks they hit the straights much earlier than other cars. At the moment we don’t observe that anymore.”

Allison pointed out that the RB19 was the lowest of the field comparatively when it comes to f ground clearance, but not by a significant margin. The British engineer felt that the dominant team was affected by bouncing just as the others were.

He felt it was a ‘simplistic’ design delivering to its fullest which made its drivers more confident to extract the maximum performance from the car. Earlier this year, there were suggestions that the ride height of the Red Bull could be protested, but Allison’s observations suggest there are many areas where the RB19 is better than its rivals.

Ahead of the Austrian GP, Lewis Hamilton wanted the FIA to introduce a rule change to end the domination. However, in April, Toto Wolff himself was against the need to introduce new regulations to stop his rivals as he spoke to the media, including Sportskeeda, in Azerbaijan.

When asked about the changes needed to end the one-team domination, Wolff said:

“I think after a race weekend like this, we mustn't talk it down overall and say, 'that is the wrong direction and we need to change completely. It is more about understanding why it wasn't entertaining and revisit it, and you have two cars that are sailing off into the sunset on merit, then there's a 22-second gap.”

What was Lewis Hamilton’s suggestion to end Red Bull domination?

Suggesting there should be a rule change to curb Red Bull domination, Lewis Hamilton proposed that there should be a time limit imposed on teams on when they can start developing the following year’s car.

The Briton suggests the Milton Keynes team have probably switched their focus to the 2023 challenger now itself, which doesn’t help rivals trying to end their domination.

Speaking to Sky Sports F1 ahead of the 2023 Austrian GP, Hamilton said:

“The car (Mercedes' W14) is moving in the right direction. I think ultimately it's likely that - bit by bit - by the end of the year we will probably catch Red Bull, but that's only because they're probably already focusing on next year's car because they're so far ahead. They don't have to make any changes to this year's car any more as they're so far ahead. He's cruising at 100 points ahead of us.
"I think the FIA should probably put a time when everyone is allowed to start developing on the next year's car. So August 1, that's when everybody can start so then no one can get an advantage on the next year, cause that sucks. It would make more sense. They should. Say for example you start the season and you know you have a bad car, you can just say I'm not going to bother developing this car and put all this money into next year's car and have an advantage.”

Currently Red Bull are 154 points clear of Mercedes in the constructor’s championship and Max Verstappen leads the driver’s standings by a margin of 69 points. With their home circuit hosting the GP in Austria, they are expected to be dominant but not by a significant margin at this track.

The FIA have not proposed a technical directive to curb their domination yet but have issued a directive to monitor the budget cap closely. Aston Martin F1 team are expected to close the gap to them in Spielberg.

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Edited by Sankalp Srivastava
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