Christian Horner claims Mercedes and Ferrari ‘already’ lodged protests over Red Bull car

Max Verstappen makes subtle dig at Lewis Hamilton

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Christian Horner has claimed Red Bull’s rivals have ‘already’ launched protests against Red Bull after FP1 at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Max Verstappen’s rear wing was seen fluttering in the first practice session in an issue which could raise some eyebrows. 

However, the issue did not appear on Sergio Perez’s car which could suggest the team were trying something new. When asked if Mercedes or Ferrari could soon complain to the FIA about the incident, Horner laughed that they already had.

But, Horner confirmed the fluttering did not give the team any pace advantage and hoped the team could solve the issue as soon as possible.

Horner said: “I think they have already done that. Obviously, we’ve seen it we’ve got the data from it, we’ve got the comparison to Sergio [Perez’s] wing, so I think there’s some modifications or some tuning that we need to do just to make sure that we eradicate that for this afternoon.

He added: “This does not give you a performance advantage. 

“Our men are on top of it and hopefully it will be cleared up before the next session.” Sky Sports F1’s Johnny Herbet said the car looked ‘very unstable’.

He added: “The whole wings flexing isn’t it. Moving around quite a bit there. Very unstable. Look at the whole rear element, moving massively, up and down a lot, it’s too much.”

Herbert claimed he had spoken to people at the FIA who said they were not concerned about the wing despite some teams submitting protests.

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The issue didn’t appear to give Verstappen any pace advantage as Perez topped teh timesheets in FP1. The Mexican was around three-tenths faster than Vertsappen who was only fast enough for third. 

At the start of the second free practice session. Red Bull mechanics could be seen still working on the back of the car and appeared to have replaced the wing completely. It’s an important weekend for Verstappen who faces a double challenge to his F1 championship lead at a track he has only secured one finish from his last four starts. 

Charles Leclerc has never finished on the podium in Baku but Ferrari are a lot closer this season and are Red Bull’s nearest challengers. However, Perez won this race last year and has soared since signing a new two-year contract extension ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix so could be difficult to beat.

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