Ferrari Joins Mercedes’ Rear Suspension Debate Amidst Recent Red Bull F1 Accusations

Published 10/29/2021, 4:09 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – United States Grand Prix – Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas, U.S. – October 23, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton during practice REUTERS/Brian Snyder


Ever since the start of this season, Red Bull and Mercedes have been walking around each other’s cars carrying magnifying glasses, nosing into the legality of every tiny detail. And the latest story seemed to have attracted the duo’s former rival team, Ferrari.

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First, it was Mercedes, who accused Red Bull of using flexible rear-wings in Barcelona, potentially offering their drivers a much better straight-line speed.

Hardly weeks later, Red Bull fired back by raising allegations over Mercedes’ ‘flexible front-wing’. Then arrived the tire-pressure controversy in Baku, but post that incident, it looked like the two parties decided to end the off-track war and offer some breathing space to their respective legal teams.

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However, it wasn’t until the Turkish Grand Prix that another controversy bloomed. Red Bull caught something fishy at the back of Mercedes cars; the rear suspension. According to Red Bull, the suspension arm was moving upwards, which tends to offer a significant advantage over medium-speed corners.

What we saw in Turkey was an extreme version of what is normally done,” Red Bull’s team principal Christian Horner said. 

Are Mercedes in trouble amidst recent Red Bull accusations?

Absolutely not! Mercedes are well within the playing grounds of the FIA rulebook, and of course, as we all know, the Brackley outfit are safe players, often hunting for loopholes and making full use of them. Well, although the same doesn’t apply to this case, Formu1a.uno has an explanation for the recent Red Bull allegations.

Apparently, the camera on the body of the car managed to capture what was really going on at the back of the Mercedes. Yes, to a naked eye, it does look like the rear suspension arms are moving upwards around medium-speed curves. But, in reality, it actually isn’t.

Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport driver Lewis Hamilton (44) of Team Great Britain leads Red Bull Racing Honda driver Max Verstappen (33) of Team Netherlands at the start of the United States Grand Prix Race at Circuit of the Americas. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Instead, it’s the entire rear of the car lowering down towards the asphalt, which is purely aerodynamical. This dynamic rear though wasn’t present at COTA, as Mercedes chose to increase rigidity in a bid to handle the brutal first sector.

But, Turkey’s dominance might as well make a comeback in Jeddah, and Mercedes are the favorites to win the debut race.

Ferrari deny Mercedes’ latest update being illegal

Red Bull eventually affirmed that they would not be lodging a protest against Mercedes’ rear suspension, as they believe it isn’t illegal. “It doesn’t seem to us to be an illegal practice,” Horner acknowledged. And soon, the ongoing season’s P3-contenders, Ferrari, too, joined Red Bull to back Mercedes’ rear-end story.

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Formula One F1 – Russian Grand Prix – Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia – September 26, 2021 Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto is seen in a protective face mask before the race REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Ferrari reckoned that the Mercedes car’s rear suspension behavior is purely a mechanical characteristic, meaning it is absolutely legal. Overall, Red Bull do fear that Mercedes may have a strong end to the season amidst races in the middle-east.

And their desperation to stop the high-flying defending champions is very much evident. But, with each of their moves ending in failure, the entire hope now resides on Max Verstappen. Can the Dutchman be the one to end Mercedes’ reign in Formula 1?

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Rohit Kumar

1418 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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