Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has insisted his team’s car is “fully legal” after Red Bull counterpart Christian Horner questioned his rival's pace and hinted at a possible future protest.
Lewis Hamilton was disqualified from qualifying on Friday for a technical infringement of the rear wing on his W12, but despite the punishment, Horner has called for the part to be given further review.
Asked if the team planned to protest, Horner left the door open when he said it would not do so “at this race” but Wolff says he has nothing to hide and believes scepticism is to be expected in such a close competition.
When told of Horner’s opinions, Wolff told Sky Sports F1: “I don’t care. It’s part of the game that you look at other parts of other teams and challenge them. You need to be sceptical and maybe an inch paranoid and that’s ok for us.
“The car is fully legal and we are happy to drive it everywhere. You can say then was it fully legal after the qualifying. We think it was but it failed this one test because the flap was broken.
“[The car is faster because] we are having a much less draggy car, the engine is fresh, which makes a big difference. The concept is focused on straight-line speed as it has been in the past.
“People are free to challenge that and protest, which may happen. We will even offer them a rear wing to put it at home in the library or cut it up into a thousand pieces.”
Wolff refused to be drawn into a war of words, saying it is “not gloves off” and added: “Whoever wins at the end will be the right winner and we will always respect that as long as it is the same rules and framework for everybody.”
Horner confused by Mercedes speed gains
Horner, who claimed the Mercedes was “unraceable” in the São Paolo Grand Prix, added: “It’s important to understand where the speed has come from.
"Obviously they’ve had a new engine here, they are running Monaco levels of downforce and yet when he passed Max he was close to 30kph quicker on that lap.
“It’s just something that we need to understand. It’s down to the FIA to police the sport, to govern it, so we trust in them and their tests and their investigation.”
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