F1’s governing body the FIA issued a new technical directive that came into effect from this weekend’s race in Singapore, with the aim of stamping out flexible aerodynamic bodywork amid concerns some teams may have been bending the rules.

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Red Bull were unusually off the pace throughout Friday and went on to endure a qualifying meltdown as both Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez were dumped out of Q2 on a horrible night for the reigning world champions. 

There had been suggestions and rumours prior to the weekend that Red Bull would be one of the outfits impacted by the technical directive, though this was dismissed by the team before the on-track action had even begun. 

Mercedes team principal Wolff said there is simply not enough data available to conclude whether Red Bull's unexpected lack of competitiveness is a one-off, or a direct result of TD018.

“It’s so difficult. We have one set of data now – Friday and Saturday in Singapore, tomorrow is a race and then we’re going to move it a different track where that plays a role. So let’s wait,” Wolff said. 

“We’ve seen those one-offs with Mercedes in the past and that’s why I’d rather now concentrate on what we can deliver tomorrow [Sunday] than think too much about whether that could have had an effect yet.”

Speaking to Sky F1 after qualifying, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner admitted his side's lack of performance was “very, very confusing". 

"The car we have here for qualifying is essentially the identical car that we had two weeks ago in Monza and a week before that in Zandvoort," he added.

But Horner insisted the technical directive had nothing to do with Red Bull’s woes.

“Zero,” he replied when asked if the TD has had any impact on Red Bull. “Nothing has changed on the car. We tried a new aero part on Friday, and we reverted on that component, so it's a tried and tested set-up that we have.

"It just hasn't responded on this circuit, on this asphalt, trying to get the tyres to get into the window, it's been very, very hard for both drivers.”

Sky F1’s pitlane reporter Ted Kravitz said the technical directive doesn't seem to be related to Red Bull's struggles. 

“Yesterday we saw the newer of the two Red Bull floors with the new edges so they don’t have a new floor here this weekend but they do have some new floor edges,” he explained during qualifying. 

“So it’s those that we believe were taken off from Friday, those new bits, and they went back to the other one that they finished at Monza with.

“They know that removing the floor edges was the right way to go so it can’t be them. So there are a lot of people thinking ‘is it this technical directive on flexible floors?’

“And we don’t think it’s that either because the technical directive about flexible floors is clarifying what’s acceptable on the lower surface of the floor.

“The problems that Red Bull are having – slowing down, not getting your tyres in the right window, braking – doesn’t seem to be related to that.”

Meanwhile, Sky F1's Martin Brundle believes next weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka will provide more telling answers. 

“It’s something dramatically affecting the aerodynamics,” Brundle said. “It can’t be suspension, geometry, kinematics or what have you. Something has completely destabilised the aerodynamics on that Red Bull around this track.

“The big telling point will be in Suzuka next weekend, they’ve got time to sort it out to an extent, because that’s very much an aero circuit."