After Christian Horner denied that Red Bull made any updates for their engine, as it would be illegal, Toto Wolff explains how it’s still possible.
After the French Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff both said that Red Bull have made improvements to their 2021 power unit.
“They have made a huge step forward with their power unit, the introduction of the second power unit,” Wolff said.
“And their race car is good, no doubt about that.”
This statement wouldn’t be problematic were it not for engine homologation rules, which forbid new spec power units in 2021.
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner immediately shot down any suggestions that his team made any upgrades.
“We’re not allowed to make progress, I don’t know what he’s referencing there,” Horner said.
“I think that it’s the same specification as the first unit. We’ve run a much smaller rear wing, so that’s why the straight line performance was strong.
“I think Honda are doing a great job, but we don’t see a sudden significant increase in power,” concluded the Briton.
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However, Wolff now explains there are ways to improve your engine without breaking the rules.
“You can do that if you increase the durability, then you can perhaps get more performance out of it even if you have almost the same hardware,” the Austrian told Speedweek.
“They have clearly made a big leap – bigger than we did. You can see it on the straights already. There is no passing them at the moment.”
With a big rules overhaul scheduled for 2022, Wolff was asked which is more important to him, the 2021 title or the development of the 2022 car?
“They are all equally important to me,“ the Austrian explained.
“But you have to consider that the 2022 regulations will remain in place for a few years, so the steps we take for that now are enormously stronger than the same effort with the current car.”
Ultimately he admits Red Bull will be difficult to beat, especially on their power-hungry home circuit in Austria.
“I have no illusions, with the current package that Red Bull has with the power and the good chassis, they are very difficult to beat.”