While many teams have been suffering from porpoising problems on their F1 cars, the Mercedes Racing Team has been facing it more severely. What’s worse is that the team has been struggling to get a grip on the matter with no relief in sight.
The new ground effect cars have been designed to improve their performance this year but the changes in Mercedes’s W13 F1 cars have had a catastrophic effect. The cars bounce violently at high speed which affects performance and handling.
This has been the primary reason for Lewis Hamilton‘s underperformance which has left the British racing driver quite frustrated. He was seen arguing with Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff at Imola, seemingly about the same problem everyone is talking about.
The frustration seems natural as the W13 cars have been preventing Hamilton and George Russell from pushing themselves. Wolff claims it would take time for the team to arrest the problems but he has failed to provide a time frame. He has also ruled out making upgrades to the cars since it could make matters worse than solve them.
Now though, the porpoising issue is not only affecting the team’s performance and points but, it has started taking its toll on Russell’s body. Speaking about how the car feels from the cockpit during the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, he said:
“When the car is in the right window and the tyres are in the right window, the car – except for the bouncing – feels really good to drive.”
But the bouncing, it really takes your breath away. It’s the most extreme I’ve ever felt it.”
“I really hope we find a solution and I hope every team struggling with the bouncing finds a solution because it’s not sustainable for the drivers to continue.
This is the first weekend I’ve truly been struggling with my back, and almost like chest pains from the severity of the bouncing.
“It’s just what we have to do to go and do the fastest laps.”
Despite the difficulties, Russell managed to secure the 4th position at Imola, having held off a late charge from Valterri Bottas. However, he made up five places on Lap 1!
Hamilton on the other hand couldn’t gain positions. The race wasn’t a memorable one for him as he finished 13th. Mercedes will have to do something quickly to stop the cars from bouncing violently in order to not injure any other its drivers.