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Martin Brundle says Mercedes cannot expect F1’s governing body and the teams to sanction a rule change which would ease their porpoising pain.
The constructors’ world champions are lobbying for a tweak of technical guidelines as their cars continue to be badly affected by vicious bouncing at high speeds following the overhaul of technical regulations for 2022. Lewis Hamilton suffered so badly he was left with chronic back pain during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix and struggled to get out of his car after finishing fourth. Teammate George Russell, who finished third in Baku, and Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff have led calls for something to be done.
However, Sky Sports commentator and former F1 driver Brundle says it is Mercedes who must find a solution. He reckons that if teams who haven’t suffered as badly from the issue voted for a change, it would be akin to turkeys voting for Christmas.
“The team are playing this quite hard in that they want some changes made. The drivers want some changes made but the Mercedes is particularly bad. Some cars are absolutely fine, they don’t bounce at all,” Brundle told Sky Sports.
“Others bounce a bit, it depends on the circuit. The teams that have got it sorted out are clearly saying it’s Mercedes’ problem, it’s not Formula One’s problem.
“I’m probably from the wrong era to have too much sympathy because the cars are fairly monstrous to drive. There’s no doubt about it, it looks particularly uncomfortable. The team can fix it by raising the car but then they lose a huge amount of performance.
“What's surprising, really, is that Mercedes just can't seem to get a handle on what looks like, actually, quite an excellent car, if they could just unlock it.”
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Brundle knows all about porpoising from his own F1 career and added: “Generally, we had porpoising back in the 80s. When you have these ground effect cars, it's always been an issue. It is still in sports car racing. I was at Les Mans and in the prototypes there they have porpoising and ground effect issues in terms of bouncing. It needs managing.
“To ask the other teams to change the regulations to help Mercedes is a bit like asking a turkey to vote for Christmas. I'm not underplaying what George Russell and Lewis Hamilton are going through, because it does look particularly painful.”
Meanwhile, Red Bull boss Christian Horner says Mercedes have a choice over the issue – complain or fix it themselves.
“You have a choice where you run your car, don’t you? And you should never run a car that’s unsafe,” he said at the weekend.
“It would seem unfair to penalise the ones that have done a decent job versus the ones that have perhaps missed the target slightly. You can see it’s uncomfortable, but there are remedies to that. What’s the easiest thing to do is to complain from a safety point of view, but each team has a choice.”
- Lewis Hamilton
- George Russell
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