Mercedes Technical Director James Allison says the team received a “nice clutch of Red Bull imagery” after the reigning champion’s floor was exposed during the Monaco Grand Prix weekend.
Sergio Perez crashed his Red Bull at Turn 1 at the beginning of Q1, resulting in his stranded RB19 being hoisted into the air by a crane to remove it from the circuit.
It marked the second time in the weekend that the floor region of a team’s car had been exposed out in the open, with Lewis Hamilton’s crash at the end of FP3 at Mirabeau offering the opportunity for rival onlookers to glance at the updated floor Mercedes had bolted onto its W14 car.
Amid Red Bull’s dominant start to the campaign and the underside of the cars being a hugely sensitive area not often exposed to prying eyes, Allison admits that aerodynamicists within the Mercedes camp will be analysing the images that emerged from Saturday in Monaco.
“Certainly it always attracts a lot of interest! There is a lot of scurrying around with team cameramen, not just to rely on the TV pictures which are low resolution and not good enough grade,” Allison explained via Mercedes’ post-Monaco debrief.
“Photographers are positioned at strategic parts of the track where there is a likelihood that the cranes will be brought into play and there they are clicking away furiously, and then our inbox is subsequently filled with high-resolution images of other cars.
“Sadly, our own car had its trip into the heavens this weekend and there will be plenty of photos in our competitor’s inboxes from that.
“But yes, we got a nice clutch of Red Bull imagery and that’s always a good thing for our aerodynamicists to pore over and see if we can pick out details that will be of interest to us in our ongoing test programme.”
Despite Hamilton’s earlier incident uncovering the new floor that Mercedes had introduced for that weekend, Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin is confident Red Bull would be more annoyed by the exposure than the German outfit.
“I suspect they’re probably more annoyed about their car being left in the sky than we would be about ours,” he added.
However, Red Bull Motorsport Advisor Helmut Marko asserts that the opposition will be unable to utilise images of the RB19’s floor without understanding how it works with the rest of the car.
“The floor is very important, but if you don’t understand the other parts and the underlying concept, it’s not easy [to copy],” the Austrian declared via RacingNews365.
“The Mercedes car was also in the air for even longer. But I don’t think anyone was as interested in their floor as in our floor.
“It’s just the floor. It all has to work with the front wing and the rear of the car. It’s a combination of everything, and that’s much more complex than just the floor.”