Red Bull 'can't prove but can't rule out' Mercedes/Pirelli collusion

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Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko says he "can't prove" but also "can't rule out" collusion between Mercedes and Pirelli.

In what was the precursor to later comments by team boss Christian Horner, the Austrian claimed it was strange how a change to thinner treaded tyres in 2019 only seems to have benefitted the Brackley-based team, who have won all seven races so far this season.

More peculiar, Marko suggested, was how Mercedes also knew exactly how to alter their car design to cope with this year's rubber.

"Let's put it this way: it’s noticeable that the rule changes and decisions lately have always been good for Mercedes," he told Germany's Auto Bild.

"For example, Pirelli changed the tyre tread for 2019 so they wouldn't overheat, but last year only Mercedes had a problem with them.

"Suddenly in 2019, Mercedes is the only one to get the temperatures in the correct working window. Everyone else has not.

"It's funny. We all had the opportunity to react to it but the cars were all designed for less downforce," Marko noted.

"Only Mercedes built a car with a lot of downforce and traction, and in hindsight, that was exactly the way to get the most from these new tyres."

The performance of the W10 in the corners certainly marks a drastic shift from recent years, when Red Bull and Ferrari had the advantage over the German manufacturer in this area.

And as for how Mercedes knew what to do, Marko doesn't believe it was pure luck.

"I cannot prove that Mercedes got data earlier than us, but I cannot rule it out," he stated.

"We at Red Bull will look very closely at the future development of Formula 1 and there will also be discussions with Pirelli."

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Offering a response, team boss Toto Wolff unsurprisingly rejected the idea.

"We cannot be distracted by such voices," he replied.

"Every year we get new tyres from Pirelli. Sometimes you understand them faster, sometimes you have more trouble with them, and as fair competitors, we make the most of what’s given to us."