Helmut Marko, the sports adviser of the Austrian team, says that Red Bull had several conversations with the FIA earlier this year due to doubts about the bias of their biggest competitor for the title. The Austrian spoke about the fierce fight between Red Bull and Mercedes in the 2021 season, which he believes was fueled by the "very unsportsmanlike" behavior of the Silver Arrows.
With the two teams fighting for this year’s world championship titles, close races on the track, and beyond the track in the form of fierce verbal exchanges between Red Bull boss Christian Horner and Mercedes boss Toto Wolff.
Questions have also been asked about the legality of the W12 and RB16B, and Marko is particularly frustrated by the debate over flexible wings that erupted at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, amid questions from Mercedes and other teams.
"When Mercedes saw that we were the same or even faster, they first came up with flexible wings, and then all sorts of false arguments," Marko explained to Dutch motorsport.com. "We took these actions as a very unsportsmanlike gesture, and then we focused on what was happening in the Mercedes, for example with those wings."
The Austrian adds that this all came about because, according to him, Mercedes is not used to another team being able to offer that kind of competition.
"It all comes down to when the fight is as intense as this year, and especially when someone (Mercedes) isn't used to the other team being able to offer competition."
Marko explains that Red Bull originally thought there was "bias" in decision-making, but that they had productive talks with the FIA and Formula 1 owners Liberty Media. "We felt there was a certain bias in the decisions," he assures.
"But in the meantime, we've had a few conversations with the FIA and Liberty, so I'd say it's 'part of the game.' " Switching balls between Wolff and Horner are also “part of the game” according to a Red Bull adviser, provided they don’t go too far as everyone is cheering for their driver.
"Of course, you support your driver: and yes, you discredit your opponent to a certain extent. But in any case, that is logical in itself, as long as it is within the normal limits, "concluded Marko. On the eve of the last two races of the season, Mercedes hold the leading position in the constructors ’championship with a 5-point advantage over Red Bull, while Max Verstappen has an eight-point advantage over Lewis Hamilton in the driver’s standings.