Ferrari deny George Russell’s claim as he accuses rivals of not respecting the regulations

Rules aimed at preventing "porpoising" and bouncing are set to come into play in Belgium this weekend.

Mercedes driver George Russell has reiterated that it is not a given that the new technical directive being introduced at the Belgian Grand Prix will help Mercedes get closer to Red Bull and Ferrari.

A major part of the new technical regulations introduced this season is “porpoising” and bouncing, and this phenomenon has sparked debate between the teams.

Mercedes seemed to be hit the hardest by the issue, as they lost a lot of straight-line speed as a result of the floor hitting the track surface.

READ: Toto Wolff sends warning to Lewis Hamilton and George Russell ahead of Belgian GP

That was a result of the turbulence on their chassis, which features a near complete lack of sidepods.

When they solved the aerodynamic issues, they felt able to lower the car, but the deficiencies of the floor shone through, with the car again violently hitting the track.

Raising the ride height is costly in the corners, but it does get rid of the oscillation.

However, the Silver Arrows had a much more serious issue than performance; the bouncing was starting to become unsafe.

As a result of the pain Sir Lewis Hamilton experienced in Baku, the FIA introduced a technical directive at the Canadian Grand Prix that enables them to raise the ride height of the car should the oscillating movement go over a certain limit.

Article continues below

That limit was set by measurements taken from the cars in Montreal, and it will come into effect at this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.

When those measurements were taken, the governing body found that some teams have been using planks that deflect more than 2mm in an area that is not covered by regulation.

They also noted that some cars feature moving skid blocks, which are aimed at reducing wear and allowing the cars to run lower for longer.

The flexing floor is set to be addressed next season, but moving skid blocks are now prohibited, which makes for a fascinating prospect this weekend at Spa – who will benefit?

“Spa is going to be interesting, there’s changes to some little regulations which may bring other teams towards us,” Russell said in conversation with Sky Sports.

The 24-year-old also believes that Red Bull and Ferrari have perhaps been a little creative with their interpretation of the regulations this season.

“There’s no doubt Ferrari and Red Bull have pushed the regulations in that regard, and we’ve sort of respected it as the regulation was intended,” added Russell.

However, he maintains that, simply because the regulations are changing, that does not mean the German side are going to be in title contention.

“There are no guarantees it would bring them closer to us, we know if it was on our car it would make us slower,” stated the Briton.

“There are no guarantees, every car is different, but it won’t help them, that’s for sure.”

The argument from Ferrari and Red Bull has been that safety is not an issue, and all that Mercedes need to do is raise the ride height of their car to avoid heavy contact with the asphalt.

Instead, in their eyes, the eight-time champions are using safety to petition the FIA to swing the rules in their favour having built a car that is fundamentally not as good as those of Red Bull of Ferrari.

Ferrari sporting director, Laurent Mekies, suggested that, irrespective of the technical directive, the same principle applies.

He, like Red Bull boss Christian Horner, does not believe “porpoising” is an issue any more, so the Scuderia should be able to run their car low, as they have been doing all season.

“The TD is effectively putting more pressure on the teams to operate their car far away from the porpoising,” explained the Frenchman.

“It’s also putting more emphasis on checking legality for plank wear. 

“As far as we are concerned, it’s an issue that pretty much has disappeared, we are now dealing with it as a completely normal set of items, if you have the issue, you raise your car. 

“If you don’t have it, you could bring the car lower as we have done for quite a few decades now.”

READ: Can Lewis Hamilton help Mercedes beat Ferrari to second?

New rules being brought in next season include a reduction in plank flexibility, a raise of the front wing edges, and a raise of the diffuser throat.

There will be stiffer deflection tests on the cars, as well as more accurate sensors to monitor oscillation.