‘Some parts are not legal’: Horner reportedly unhappy with radical 2022 Mercedes car

Mercedes have ditched conventional sidepods ahead of the second pre-season test in Bahrain.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner is said to be unhappy at the changes Mercedes have made to their 2022 car, claiming that they go “against the spirit of the regulations.”

Mercedes were reported to have made radical alterations to the machine they ran during the first three days of pre-season testing in Barcelona, with a complete absence of sidepods being suggested.

“It would be a car almost completely devoid of sides, the disappearance of which would have involved an imaginative but effective arrangement of the radiators, in the highest area of the bodywork,” said a report.

It comes after a source close to the FIA noted that they are aware of some teams “sailing close to the wind and bringing solutions that do not quite correspond to the spirit of the regulations.”

Indeed, as the cars rolled out onto the Sakhir International Circuit in Bahrain for the second test ahead of the new season, the Silver Arrows’ challenger appears to have no conventional sidepods, but rather grills on the side of the car to aid aerodynamic efficiency and establish a new cooling philosophy.

Horner, in keeping with the incrementally bitter rivalry between Mercedes are Red Bull, was not happy about it.

“The new Mercedes violates the spirit of the regulations. For us, some parts are not legal,” he is said to have told Auto Motor und Sport, although the validity of these quotes has been disputed.

“These are not mirror mounts, but two wings. They also have vertical baffles built on top. They have nothing to do with the mirror mount.”

Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali and managing director Ross Brawn have both suggested that there will be room for innovation and exploitation of loopholes, but the 48-year-old believes that the Brackley squad have exceeded the legal parameters.

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“From our point of view, Mercedes went a step too far. That does not correspond to the spirit of the regulations. For us, these wings are illegal,” he added.

Red Bull were quick to pour water over what could be perceived as highly inflammatory comments.

“Christian Horner has not given any interviews regarding Mercedes’ car. Any quotes being attributed to him this morning are incorrect,” they said.

However, they have since amended their position, saying: “Wo we are clear, we have made no official comment regarding Mercedes’ car and will not be doing so.”

It can therefore likely be interpreted that Horner did indeed give an interview this morning, but his thoughts are not representative of the team’s point of view.