Spielberg (Austria) (AFP)
Mercedes, the world champion of the Formula One World Championship for six years, has set its sights on imposing early control on the 2020 season, when drivers run into the Austrian Styria Grand Prix this weekend.
The race will be held on the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, which is the second in a row on the same track after last Sunday, and is called “the Great Styria Prize”, the Austrian region where the circuit is located.
The race will be the second stage of the 2020 championship, whose launch was delayed for months and adjusted due to the emerging SK virus.
But Mercedes, whose car in black in this season was a supporter of anti-racism, instead of the silver color that the German team has been known in the past decades, seemed determined from the beginning to impose his dominance on the championship, and to win its title for the seventh time in succession for teams and drivers.
Finn Valtieri Botas won the first stage of the championship after starting from the first place, and crossed the finish line against his fellow world champion six times Lewis Hamilton, before the latter was returned to fourth in the final ranking, because of adding five seconds to his timing as a punishment for his friction with Thai Red Bull driver Alexander Albun, as the latter tries to bypass him on the outside of a turn.
While two Mercedes cars seemed better in terms of speed, imposed the challenge Albon for Hamilton, and what was destined to be a successful overrun had it not been for the friction between the two cars, a greater struggle between Mercedes and Red Bull, especially since the German team warned its drivers during the last laps of the Austrian race last week, the possibility of a A problem with the gearbox and the sensors, asking them to refrain from pressure without justification.
“We were lucky to be able to finish the race, and reliability is a real concern. We are working on that as an absolute priority for us,” Austrian Mercedes manager Toto Wolf reversed this.
A Mercedes driver escaped in a race that saw nine out of 20 drivers pull out for various reasons, most notably mechanical, and the safety car repeatedly entered to set the rhythm and clean the circuit before the competition returned.
However, the conflict between Mercedes and Red Bull was not limited to the asphalt, which bears the name of the second team, as the latter raised the banner of protest against the competitors running the season with an innovative modification on the dual-axle front suspension, where it can expand or narrow the distance between the two front wheels.
Red Bull filed an objection to the system, on the pretext that it violated technical laws. But the commissioners of the race responded by refusing to protest, stressing that the system, known simply as “Das”, “conforms to the rules for suspension devices and streamlined effect.”
He did not like the objection of Red Bull Wolff, who pointed his arrows towards his Austrian counterpart, Christian Horner, saying that the confrontation is “serious now, without gloves.”
“We will not do nice things anymore, we are in a real battle for victory. So, in such a short and intense season, with races whose final number has not yet been determined, every point will be important.”
– faster rhythm –
Red Bull empty-handed out of the race, after the withdrawal of his drivers Albon and young Dutchman Max Verchtaben who left on lap 12 due to an electronic problem.
The Dutchman, who had won the Spielberg race in the past two years, was harder to finish, and he was a candidate to repeat that season.
And Verchtaben said that the Red Bull car did not offer a speed similar to that of Mercedes, and said, “We were a little slower in terms of rhythm compared to Mercedes (…) So we definitely have to bridge the gap if we want to match them in this field, instead of trying to outperform them in terms of The strategy”.
He continued, “My performance was good and it allowed me to climb to the podium, and I considered it easy (…) But we must look at how the race took place in general,” acknowledging that “it cannot be changed now, so I look forward to the end of a week ( Current) I hope will be positive. ”
As for Horner, he also raised the banner of the challenge in confronting Mercedes, after a race in which the third competitor among the adults appeared, stuck between the banks of the world champions and Ferrari, whose driver Charles Locklear from Monaco came second behind Potas, while his German teammate Sebastian Vettel finished 10th.
“Last week, I think a victory (for Red Bull) was on the table,” Horner said. “We were good at race strategy, very strong, and unfortunately we did not gain any points.”
“Mercedes did a good job during the winter as we saw during the tests. On the engine front, they look strong, but I think the RB16 + (Red Bull) is a very, very good car.”
He stressed that the team must approach winning in “every race, and treat it as the final of the Cup competition”, meaning without any chance of tripping or lagging.
© 2020 AFP