Red Bull question the legality of Mercedes front wing

Rosario Giuliana, Jaden Diaz

Mercedes performed at their best in Canada, managing to fight with Red Bull and McLaren for victory. The RB20 has its star driver in Max Verstappen, but the car from Milton Keynes is no longer unbeatable. “Max was incredible, the McLarens were the fastest on the intermediates. But we did well not to let things go wrong in tricky conditions,”  assessed Christian Horner.

Red Bull has seen McLaren and Ferrari close the gap in 2024. The Woking and Marnaello-based outfits have kept their momentum from last year. Still, is very much a story of two halves at Red Bull. Whilst Max Verstappen secured another win in Canada, Sergio Perez was nowhere near the points. He will also serve a three-place grid penalty in Canada.

“Horrible weekend for Checo, but luckily Ferrari didn’t score points, so we didn’t lose too many points in the constructors,” Horner concluded.


Red Bull are looking very closely at their rivals, aware that victory and defeat are decided by the fine details. As first revealed by Auto Motor und Sport, Red Bull are examining the front wings of their rivals. has gathered from reputable sources  that the engineers at Milton Keynes, under the supervision of Paul Monaghan, are looking closely at the new Mercedes front wing.

This specification was first introduced on Russell’s car in Monaco. It was then brought to both cars in Canada, and to devastating effect. An unofficial request has been submitted to the FIA ​​technical office to monitor the flexing at the W15’s front wing and nose.

The Mercedes front wing has always been within legal limits during the FIA’s static checks.

However, teams are also able to activate flexing at certain load ranges during the lap. Listening to various insiders, the television images confirm that the front wing of the new specification W15 flexes more compared to the initial specification. This is an issue at Mercedes we have previously analysed.

James Allison has spoken very positively about the new front-wing update. The Mercedes Technical Director defined it as an important development for the team’s 2024 trajectory. From a technical point of view, there is a tense atmosphere between Red Bull and Mercedes.

Just last week, James Allison and Christian Horner had an indirect exchange on the issue of Red Bull’s updates.

“Their developments seem not to have given the desired results and seem to be a step backwards,” Allison assessed.

The Red Bull team principal promptly retorted: “In Canada, we finished ahead of them. Our downgrades beat their updated car.”

James Allison and his technicians at Brackley have begun a process of evolution on the W15. As a result, Mercedes will introduce consistent upgrades from now until the summer break.


The theme of flexing has always been very present in these F1 technical regulations.  In both 2022 and 2023, the FIA ​​intervened and tweaked the technical regulations to mitigate the flexions of components such as the floor and spoilers.

Last October, the FIA technical office officially implemented Technical Directive 18 to mitigate the use of overly flexible composite carcasses on the front wing structure.

The FIA ​​intervenes with directives that implement changes to the regulation. These adjustments are driven by areas which, according to the FIA, affect safety.


Illustration of the bending movement of an (old generation) wing that teams still look for today – by Rosario Giuliana

The TD018 of 2023, which came into force through the political weight of some teams, greatly limited Aston Martin. Over the winter break, teams worked to reach pre-TD018 flexion levels while still complying with article 3.2.2 of the regulation – which limits flexions around the front wing.

“Observing the teams, we saw how they manage to create relative movements in the area of ​​the nose attachment and in the external part near the lateral fins,” Nikolas Tombazis commented last year.

“The teams invest a lot of resources to create surfaces that resist our load tests, but that appear to be made of elastic material on the track.” 

With the fight at the front intensifying, teams are paying extra attention to the work of rivals. This scrutiny is to either copy or ask for clarification on potentially suspicious elements.