Mercedes: What’s gone wrong at the F1 and can they recover?
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George Russell has appeared to hit out at Red Bull boss Christian Horner as he warned there were “mixed agendas” in the porpoising debate. Russell has warned teams who are competitive clearly “don’t want change” as he claimed some were “prioritising performance over driver health”.
His comments come just days after Horner slammed Mercedes’ calls for regulation changes. Speaking to Sky Sports, Russell said: “It clearly is a safety concern. There’s obviously a lot of mixed agendas out there from different teams, different drivers.
“Because teams who are competitive, they clearly don’t want change. But every single driver at some point has come out and said how bad this has been. So it’s a bit of a shame to see some try to prioritise performance over driver health as such.”
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff appeared to demand rule changes ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix as he said many drivers now felt porpoising was a “real issue”. However, Horner hit back at the comments claiming Mercedes was simply playing games.
When asked what he would do if his drivers were suffering from porpoising, Horner said: “Tell them to b**** as much as they could over the radio and make as big an issue out of it as they possibly could. It is part of the game… Look, it is uncomfortable but there are remedies to that but it is detrimental to the car performance.
“What is the easiest thing to do? Complain from a safety point of view but each team has a choice.” The FIA has intervened ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix, promising to set a minimum oscillation limit.
This will stop teams from running cars too low to the ground as a short-term fix before more medium-term solutions can be found. There are fears the new rule could affect Mercedes who will have to run their car higher and lose performance to comply with the rule.
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Russell said: “We don’t know how this is going to affect us from a performance aspect. We are just going to have to suck it up and see. But there’s a greater issue at play here and this is not just us as a team, this is Formula 1 as a sport this season and something needs to change.
“We have seen one new implementation of a regulation this weekend but I think we would all like to hope this is the start of something we can continue to progress. We’ve got the engineering talent and technology to be able to resolve these issues in heartbeat but it’s not as simple as that in the world of sport and politics.”
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