Ex-Mercedes boss fires warning at Wolff over ‘unfair act’

Mercedes have been the victim of "porpoising" and bouncing throughout the 2022 season so far.

Former Mercedes Motorsport vice president Norbert Haug has warned his old team that their bouncing problems are unlikely to be solved purely by tweaking the regulations.

The new technical regulations in Formula 1 this year saw the reintroduction of ground effect aerodynamics, which had previously been banned for 40 years.

The subsequent changes to the aerodynamic concept meant that some teams have had trouble figuring out how to design the floor and chassis in such a way that airflow is not disturbed.

READ: Russell fires back at Horner’s accusation against Hamilton and Mercedes

Sadly for Mercedes, they were one of them, and the turbulence means that the floor, now lower to the ground than before, would make heavy contact with the track surface. This was called “porpoising.”

In essence, they fixed that issue in Barcelona, so that gave them the freedom to run the car lower, but on bumpy circuits like Monaco and Baku, the low ride height means that the car is bouncing and bottoming out in a different way.

Since most of the other teams have managed to work their way around the problem, Haug believes it is very unlikely that the FIA will consider changing the regulations to help the Silver Arrows eradicate the bouncing.

“I can’t imagine that there will be a rule reform, especially since Red Bull has already pointed out that it would be an unfair act,” said the German.

“I don’t think the Mercedes problem can be solved in the short term.”

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However, even if the rules did change, the 69-year-old suggests that it would not change the fundamental flaws that the eight-time constructors’ champions have with the W13.

“On a slippery track and in the wind tunnel it works, and when there’s no bobbing, the car can be driven with a lot of downforce,” explained Haug.

“But when the intake effect keeps breaking, it’s kind of like driving a jackhammer.

“And this will not be remedied by changing the regulations, but must be initiated by the team.”

McLaren’s Lando Norris remarked ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix this weekend that Mercedes can solve the bouncing by running the car higher, but they do not want to do that due to the performance they would lose in the corners.

“I’m sure the Mercedes can have a much stiffer floor and raise the ride height and it would be much nicer for them,” he stated.

“But they obviously just don’t want to lose performance. I don’t think it’s anything to complain about, it’s just people need to find a way of fixing it themselves.”

READ: Verstappen much closer to getting a race ban than Leclerc and Sainz

Red Bull boss Christian Horner indicated after the race that, if he were in Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff’s position, he would tell his drivers to “b****” about the bouncing as much as possible to force the FIA into changing something.

George Russell picked up his third podium of the season in P3 in Baku, with team-mate Sir Lewis Hamilton behind in fourth.