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Did Mercedes make a mistake by beating Ferrari? 'Take what you can get'

During the last race of 2023, it was decided which team would claim second place among the constructors. But was it really beneficial for Mercedes?

Red Bull-affiliated simulator driver Rudy van Buren believes Mercedes was correct to take second place in the Constructors' standings after a showdown with Ferrari in the Abu Dhabi season finale, despite losing development time as a consequence.

The Silver Arrows had struggled to make a mark on the competition early on with its W14, though upgrades at the Monaco Grand Prix saw the team take a step forward.

With Lewis Hamilton and George Russell outperforming the joint effort of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz at Yas Marina, Mercedes ensured it would finish runner-up to Red Bull at the end of a campaign dominated by the Milton Keynes-based outfit, which won all but one race.

'Make it or break it'

F1's sliding-scale aerodynamic testing rules dictate decreased wind tunnel and CFD testing time the further up the championship a team finishes, with five per cent increments separating teams' allocations.

This means that despite finishing behind Mercedes, Ferrari could now have an advantage for 2024 by utilising extra time in the wind tunnel over its rival.

Downplaying the issue when speaking to RacingNews365, van Buren explained: "We are now talking about that few per cent difference in the wind tunnel time - I think you should always take what you can get in terms of championship.

"You have to perform on the day you are there and they did that. Did they get it as a gift because Sainz did not show up in Abu Dhabi? Yes. If you start fourteenth in a Ferrari, you have an alternative strategy and then reach the top 10 doesn't come in? What are you doing? Then something is really wrong.

"I don't think those few per cent in the wind tunnel will be 'make it or break it'. I'll stick with it, take what you can get. If that's P2, then that's P2."

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1 comment

ANALYSIS Has Red Bull shown an early advantage in pre-season testing?