Ferrari boss hints at foul play after Mercedes develop new part

The FIA introduced a technical directive to counter "porpoising" and bouncing in Canada.

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto was left confused as to the speed of Mercedes’ turnaround of an additional floor stay ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix.

The FIA passed a technical directive (TD) ahead of the weekend that was designed to limit “porpoising” and bouncing for safety reasons.

It came after Mercedes pair Sir Lewis Hamilton and George Russell both struggled physically during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, with the former struggling to get out of his car after the race due to back pain caused by the severe bottoming.

READ: ‘One swallow doesn’t make a summer’: Wolff on Mercedes gaining on Ferrari and Red Bull

The FIA spent last weekend measuring the oscillating movement of the cars with a view to introducing a limit, and if teams go over that limit, they will need to raise the ride height of the car.

Because the TD was introduced at short notice, the governing body allowed for an extra floor stay to be installed to keep the car stable, and Mercedes would show up for practice with an extra one on the car.

This would have meant a small team of mechanics flying all the way back to the UK to get them, before bringing them back, which would have taken too long, so Mercedes have kept some workers back, before bringing them out with the new parts when the TD was passed.

Binotto is not entirely convinced by this, but settles on Toto Wolff’s word that they flew some mechanics out later with the additional stays.

“Toto says they did it overnight. Ferrari would not be capable of doing this,” he said.

Article continues below

“I’m surprised that a team is so strong to manage it overnight. I can only trust what he says.”

READ: Is this the reason Hamilton was faster than Russell in Canada?

The TD may well end up meaning that every team, even those who have nailed the new technical regulations, could have to raise the ride height of their cars, leaving a general feeling at Red Bull and Ferrari that this would be unfair to undo their good work to advantage a competitor who has struggled to adapt to the new era.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner was disappointed that there was no “consultation” with the teams prior to the TD being brought in, and Binotto suggested that directives should only be there to remind the teams of the regulations, not change them.

“For us, that TD’s not applicable,” the Italian explained.

“And it’s something we mentioned to the FIA. A TD is there to clarify regulations, or to address policing. 

“It is not there to change the regulations. That’s governance.”

In the end, Mercedes took the additional stay off the car as it did not yield the results they wanted, and Hamilton went on to take third place behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz.

Russell ended the race in fourth, ahead of the other Ferrari of Charles Leclerc, who had recovered from 19th after taking a grid penalty.