Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has warned Red Bull counterpart Christian Horner to expect a "very messy" Azerbaijan Grand Prix as a potential legal threat looms.
The row over the flexi or limbo rear wings is set to boil over in Baku where the device on Red Bull's cars has already been estimated to provide them with around six-tenths of a second advantage.
The movement of the rear wing goes against article 3.8b of the technical regulations that state 'any specific part of the car influencing its aerodynamic performance must be rigidly secured to the entirely sprung part of the car [rigidly secured means not having any degree of freedom]'.
While Red Bull's wing has passed all FIA tests, motorsport's governing body has since moved to make those tests more stringent, although they do not come into force until the French GP.
That has annoyed Wolff who believes all teams currently running 'limbo' wings - Ferrari, Alfa Romeo and Alpine, as well as Red Bull - have ample time to stiffen up the component before the next race in Baku.
Asked whether a protest was likely at the next race, speaking to Sky Sports F1, Wolff said: “Yeah. I think if the limbo-wings will be on in Baku, with the advantage we see, it’s going to go to the stewards.
"If the stewards are not enough, it’s going to go to the ICA [International Court of Appeal], so I guess the FIA is going to clarify things before Baku because if not it could be very messy.”
Red Bull gives you 'wings'
Horner has suggested Mercedes' front wing on the W12 is just as culpable as the rear wing on its own RB16B.
Wolff, however, countered, adding: “We’ve analysed the front wings and they are bending exactly the same way as the Red Bull so we could be protesting each other on the front wing also.
“But it is clear the rear wing bends more than it should under the rules. It has been classified as non-conformant but we are left in a vacuum where new tests will be introduced after Baku.
“So it is what it is but we are pretty robust in our legal position and it is just an advantage."
Wolff, though, was at least courteous in defeat following a Monaco GP in which Red Bull took over the lead of both the constructors' and drivers' championships in the wake of Max Verstappen's victory.
"They won fair and square," assessed Wolff. "The wing had nothing to do with Red Bull’s performance.
“They were just better. That is what you need to take on the chin and congratulate them.”
What do you think?
Agree, legal threats really bad taste... Toto is happy as long as his team wins easily; if not he becomes a very unpleasant person.
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