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Formula 1

Are Mercedes using intercooler trick to gain more power?

Red Bull's curiosity about the Mercedes power unit has reportedly been piqued by seeing massive acceleration out of low speed corners.

Verstappen France
Article
To news overview © Getty Images/Red Bull Contentpool

Red Bull are reportedly interested in getting clarification from the FIA regarding an intercooler trick that they theorise Mercedes are using to help generate more horsepower.

The theory has come about as a result of Mercedes' acceleration abilities, with both Red Bull and Ferrari's curiosity piqued after Silverstone.

A report from Germany's Auto Motor und Sport has said that Red Bull have been analysing GPS data from the cars since Silverstone, picking up on the Mercedes acceleration. While the theorised trick doesn't necessarily mean Mercedes have any more power than the likes of Honda or Ferrari, it's allowing them to exploit it from much lower in the powerband of the engine, as Mercedes' straight-line speed isn't suspiciously higher than their rivals.

AMuS say that Red Bull and Ferrari believe Mercedes have found a trick with their intercooler, through a loophole for cooling compressed air to 10 degrees below air temperature.

This colder air has more density, meaning that more fuel can be burned, and that an engine manufacturer that can use this cooler air in the first part of the acceleration phase would then have an advantage.

Simply explained, the suggestion is that Mercedes are managing to separate cooler air from the ambient air by routing between the intercooler and plenum of the engine. This could offer up to 20 horsepower extra through the acceleration phase.

Of course, such a theory raises plenty of question marks over whether such a trick could be permitted. According to AMuS, Red Bull have submitted an official request for clarification to the FIA, believing that the temperature sensor is measuring in part of the engine that would still be above the required minimum.

RacingNews365.com has reached out to Red Bull for comment.

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