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Red Bull Racing

Are Red Bull planning a late protest against Mercedes?

Christian Horner has been asked whether his team are planning a protest against Mercedes, should Red Bull lose the title in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

To news overview © Mercedes

Christian Horner says his team are trusting the FIA's processes to monitor car legality in Abu Dhabi, but hasn't ruled out the possibility that Red Bull could lodge a protest against Mercedes after the Grand Prix.

In recent weeks, rumours of a protest from Red Bull about the Mercedes W12 have bubbled under the surface.

Red Bull's suspicions about the Mercedes' rear wing flexibility led to a controversial incident at the Brazilian Grand Prix when Max Verstappen touched Hamilton's car in parc ferme after qualifying.

That weekend, Red Bull Chief Technical Officer Adrian Newey and Chief Engineer Paul Monaghan were understood to have held a meeting with the FIA outlining their concerns over the Mercedes. More stringent rear wing checks were subsequently introduced to test the flexibility of the structures, but nothing untoward has been uncovered.

However, the timing of the introduction of the tests is such that, even if a transgression is found in this area, teams won't be excluded from the results.

From that weekend onwards, Red Bull have been far happier with the straight-line speed shown by the Mercedes and believe it's no longer unusually quick relative to their own.

Will Red Bull protest against Mercedes in Abu Dhabi?

Asked about whether Red Bull are sitting on the possibility of a protest should the title decider in Abu Dhabi not go their way, Horner gave a diplomatic non-answer.

"We have made our points clear a few races ago to the FIA, about things that we were unhappy with," Horner explained to media, including RacingNews365.com.

"The FIA have introduced stringent tests and I believe modifications have been made to our competitor's car. We just want to have a level playing field and I think, hopefully, we have that.

"We rely on the FIA to police it. It's an incredibly complex sport, there's a huge talent pool of engineering skill that look at and interpret these regulations with tremendous ingenuity.

"That's part of the appeal of Formula 1, but we rely wholeheartedly on the FIA to make sure these things are policed and adjudicated correctly. I think, hopefully, with the tools that they now have, that certainly will be the case."

Why have Mercedes been so much quicker in recent races?

While the Red Bull and Mercedes have spent most of this season on par with each other, or even with the Red Bull slightly ahead, the Mercedes has undoubtedly been the quicker car in the last handful of races.

This is despite neither team bringing updates to their cars since the summer, and Mercedes boss Toto Wolff moved to explain why the W12 suddenly seems so much faster relative to itself from only a few races ago.

"I think we understood much better how to run the car in terms of aerodynamic configuration," he explained.

"Particularly, how much rake we give to the car, how you put the aero balance right, how much rear wing you run. Then, obviously, a massive effect from a new engine.

"Put all of this together with a circuit that suits the car, with the right decisions that are being taken by Andrew Shovlin [Head of Trackside Engineering] and his team, and Loic Serra [Performance Director] and his guys.

"People tend to believe, in Formula 1, that there's one silver bullet, but it's not like this. It's more [that] things add up and I think that is where we took some good decisions."

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