Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto does not believe there is an awful lot wrong with the new technical regulations, despite the awkward “porpoising” and bouncing that has taken place this season.
The reintroduction of ground effect aerodynamics caused a huge shakeup in the design of the cars, with new design concepts necessitated, and a new pecking order established.
Eight-time constructors’ champions Mercedes have been losing around a second a lap on the straights to Ferrari and Red Bull as a result of the floor, which is now lower, hitting the deck violently and frequently, and this phenomenon has been affecting Sir Lewis Hamilton and George Russell physically as well.
A lot of oscillating movement has been going on over at Ferrari as well, but Charles Leclerc’s two wins as nine podiums between himself and Carlos Sainz suggest that they are coping with it well.
Haas boss Guenther Steiner, whose team spent the majority of last year preparing for this season, suggests that a solution can be found for the turbulence and impacts before abandoning the new concept.
“I think it’s a bit early to say we give up on what we have done here, we have done just a few races with these cars,” he said in a press conference at the Canadian Grand Prix
“These engineers are very good, and they will find a solution before we need to do something dramatic.
“I think there will be a time when we say: ‘how could we do this different?’
“Or ‘if we change the regulation, can we make it go away?’ But in the moment, I think we need to stick with this regulation because I think, in general, they are not working badly.”
While Binotto and Mercedes boss Toto Wolff were at loggerheads over the technical directive introduced in Canada, they did seem to be in agreement that the new cars are not a lost cause.
“Overall, if we judge Formula 1, I don’t think they are the least comfortable cars to drive, in terms of formula motorsport,” said the Italian.
“I think that it’s a challenge for the drivers, no doubt. But still, I think those cars are quite comfortable to drive.
“I think [if] we look at ourselves, we made already made some progress, as Guenther said, I think in the future, we can do more progress. So, certainly too early to judge.
“I’m pretty sure we will find a solution, medium-long term. I think we need to accept it. It’s certainly something on which we all need to better understand to improve, but happy to do that.”
Wolff finds promise in the fact that the likes of Red Bull, McLaren, Alpine and Alfa Romeo are experiencing less bouncing, so there is a solution there; it is just a matter of finding it.
“I think we’ve seen cars that don’t have the issue and then others who have it have it worse, clearly,” stated the 50-year-old.
“I can talk for our two drivers: they are having issues and it goes to a point that even a physio can’t fix it sometimes.
“So, we need to see how that develops, and understand also why it’s much tougher in some cars than in others.”
The measurements taken by the FIA in Canada will be used to establish a limit whereby the teams could be asked to raise the ride height of their cars.
This reportedly led to a “heated” debate between Wolff and Binotto as, despite the directive being introduced for safety reasons, the Italian felt as though the Silver Arrows are trying to manipulate the regulations to bring themselves back to the front.