Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren are all said to be bemused as to how Mercedes happened to have an extra floor stay ready, despite the new directive only being announced on Thursday.
In a bid to look out for drivers’ long-term health and limit the risk of injury due to “porpoising” and bouncing, the FIA have introduced a metric this weekend that measures the oscillation of the cars.
The more the cars, under the new technical regulations, bounce off the track surface, the more risk there is of injury, so there will be a limit as to how much the cars are allowed to bounce.
A failure to stay within the confines of the bouncing limit could lead to a disqualification and, given that the directive was brought in at such short notice, the teams are permitted to add an extra floor stay to help keep the car steady.
Mercedes then had an extra one ready to install on the cars of Sir Lewis Hamilton and George Russell on Friday and, according to Michael Schmidt of Auto Motor und Sport, three teams find that rather odd.
“Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren are not only upset that the FIA is changing the rules in the middle of the season and allowing for a second underbody support, they also openly question how Mercedes had such a stay and attachments to the chassis and floor on hand in just one day,” he said.
A Mercedes spokesperson said that the team had left some people behind at Brackley ready for a late call-out with the extra parts.
“We had people who flew late to Montreal and took the material with them. Because of our problems with the ground, we were prepared for anything in terms of the stays,” they clarified.
“The second one didn’t work as expected anyway.”
As for the perceived rule change, the FIA have elaborated that this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix will be used to measure teams’ bouncing, and so the new rules will not necessarily be enforced before the British Grand Prix in a fortnight.
“The technical directive does not specifically state that the metric would be applied for this race,” a spokesperson for the governing body told The Race.
“It is felt that the complexity of establishing that metric from all the data from the different cars is not going to be an overnight job.
“There will be a careful and full analysis of the data gathered this weekend and any application of it will be appropriate to whatever arises from the analysis.”
Auto Motor und Sport also quoted an anonymous team principal as suggesting that there has been no clear indication from the FIA as to what the bouncing parameters are.
“Who dares to say that 7g or 8g is the limit? There is no expertise whatsoever as to what is still acceptable and what isn’t,” they pondered.
Mercedes bouncing comes after they lowered the ride height having initially solved the “porpoising” problem, but other teams, such as Red Bull, have not encountered those problems.
Red Bull adviser Dr Helmut Marko therefore insists that it is Mercedes themselves who have put themselves in this mess, so they need to get out of it themselves without the FIA’s help.
“There is no need for action, if you have a problem, you should put your car higher,” said the Austrian.
Mercedes’ extra stays, amid the protestations, did little to improve the ride of their car, and Sir Lewis Hamilton commented that the W13 now feels “worse” than before after he ended FP2 on Friday in 13th.