"That’s total rubbish"- Red Bull's Christian Horner hits back at Mercedes, claiming they have not been taking advantage of F1 floor flexing

Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner looks on from the grid during the F1 Grand Prix of Austria. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner looks on from the grid during the F1 Grand Prix of Austria. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has denied accusations of using a flexing floor on their cars that gave them a significant advantage. The Briton suggested that they were not worried about their floor and downplayed Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff’s claims.

When asked by Motorsport Network if the claims were true, Horner said:

“That’s total rubbish. Total rubbish. I think we’re getting issues mixed up here. Maybe he’s referring to, I don’t know, cars that are around him at the moment. I have no idea, but I have absolutely no issues or concerns on our floor.”
Red Bull's floor at the Canadian GP: note the opening in the floor. #F1 #TechF1

The Mercedes team principal had suggested at the Austrian GP that Red Bull and Ferrari might be using a flexible plank on the floor or skid blocks to contain their porpoising. According to Woff, the FIA had discovered the issue at the last TAC (Technical Advisory Committee) meeting and the floor and skid blocks were being investigated.

However, Horner denied any such claims and is confident that they are not worried about the floor of their car. Wolff has also suggested that the floors of some of their rivals might be flexing or moving more than the allowed limit.

Describing the two tricks used by their rivals, Wolff said:

“As a matter of fact, some teams have skids that actually disappear when the car hits the bottom. The reason for skids is that they are the limitation of how much plank wear you can have. And if a skid can disappear miraculously into the floor, that is clearly against the regulations."

He continued:

"Then the second thing is a plank that can deflect or that basically also moves away more than the tolerance should be. The tolerance is one millimetre. And if a plank moves away many more millimetres up into the car, obviously, you gain some performance there too.”

Mercedes expect some of the tricks Red Bull and Ferrari have used to disappear by Spa

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner suggested that the technical directive discussed at the TAC meeting focused purely on eliminating porpoising and safety. However, the Mercedes principal feels the skid block tricks used by Ferrari and Red Bull will be removed when the Technical Directive is implemented in Belgium. The original timeline for the TD to be introduced was by the French GP, but it has been postponed to Belgium after discussions in the last meeting.

Speaking at the Austrian GP weekend, the Mercedes boss said:

“I think the first one [skid tricks] is going to disappear for Spa, because apparently skid material is not available [until then]. And the second one is going to be clarified in next year's regulations.”
#F1 #AustrianGP 🇦🇹:The ‘flexifloor’ saga continues. George Russell’s floor pics to surface and the comparison arises.Red Bull and Ferrari visibly with two planks (or one divided in two parts) under their floor, whilst Mercedes only has [a continuous] one.

Explaining the focus of the technical directive and the porpoising issues, Horner spoke to Motorsport Network saying:

“The technical directive is obviously focused on the bouncing and the porpoising which certain cars have struggled with. I think it’s due for further discussion in the [TAC], which is the correct forum for it."

He continued:

"Obviously we saw at Silverstone no cars were really affected by it. The argument being, is it the duty of the competitor to make sure their car is safe, or is it the duty of the FIA to ensure that the competitor runs their car safely?”

Teams are evidently divided about the technical directive as the porpoising row continues. However, Mercedes have been the only team affected by the porpoising phenomenon but are also to gain from the new technical directive.

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Edited by Nicolaas Ackermann
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