In the latest episode of Red Bull team principal Christian Horner’s ongoing feud with Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, the Briton has warned the 50-year-old that working through the summer is not permitted.
Teams are required to give their mechanics, engineers and drivers a break during the summer shutdown, when no work is allowed to be done on the cars – even work emails are monitored to ensure that no one is officially working during a 14-day period.
Work is allowed to be done during the rest of the summer break before and after the 14-day rest period so Horner, upon hearing Wolff suggest that Mercedes are going to be working through the winter to improve the W13, was sure to remind his counterpart of the rules.
“I hear Toto said they are going to work throughout the summer break to improve the car, which would, of course, be illegal,” he said.
“They were certainly talking up their chances coming into the weekend. I think in the end Max was reasonably comfortable.
“But you can see they are chipping away at it, they are getting closer and closer.”
After the mammoth title battle between Max Verstappen and Sir Lewis Hamilton last season, Red Bull have nailed the new technical regulations, while Mercedes have been lagging behind the Austrian team and Ferrari.
Hamilton and George Russell have managed nine podium finishes between them, whereas Verstappen and Sergio Perez have bagged eight wins.
There have been very contrasting fortunes for last season’s title protagonists but, while Horner is staggered by the work of his team, he insists that they must perennially be prepared for the threat from their rivals.
“If you had told me going into Christmas last year that with the biggest regulation change in 40 years, with the effort that we put into last year’s championship, that we would be sitting here with eight Grand Prix victories, two sprint race victories and leading both championships by 63 and 82 points respectively, that would have been beyond my wildest expectations,” he explained.
“I think that it really is a testament to the determination, dedication and hard work that has gone on behind the scenes within the factory.
“We’ve seen Ferrari very competitive also this year, we see Mercedes for sure are gathering momentum.
“But considering we were probably the last team to transition fully onto this car, it has been a phenomenal job.”