Red Bull's chief technical officer Adrian Newey saw Mercedes' push to limit the flexibility of Red Bull's rear wing throughout the 2021 Formula 1 season as a compliment.
Mercedes spoke regularly about Red Bull's rear wing flexing under braking and on the straights, with the FIA issuing a technical directive ahead of the French Grand Prix which increased the strict measures to test wing flexibility.
"It's absolutely correct that that the top teams are only interested in what their main rival is doing," said Newey on Talking Bull. "They're not particularly worried about what a team at the back of the grid is doing.
"So if you take the recent flexible rear wing, then we were not doing team exploiting that, Alfa [Romeo] and I think one other team were doing exactly the same.
"Mercedes then started making noise about it. They weren't worried about what Alfa doing, they were worried about whether we were getting benefit from it.
"In a way, you can take it as a form of compliment and we've been there before in championship battles with Ferrari, with all sorts of rows over bodyweight flexibility as well, in that time it was mainly aimed at the frontline."
The development battle has been ongoing all year between Mercedes and Red Bull. Flexi-wings were a major topic earlier in the season, whilst the war of words has recently turned towards the power units. Newey thinks calling the battle a "war" is a fair analogy.
"So it is natural, we'll equally be kind of taking a careful eye on what Mercedes are doing and see if we can see anything that they are doing that we might be able to have a pop up," continued Newey.
"It's natural. I never particularly like the war analogy, but it is a decent analogy and so in the war analogy, you look at every aspect you can to to improve your competitive position."
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