‘That kind of overshadows everything’: Wolff makes surprising claim about Mercedes porpoising

Sir Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo were both left feeling sore after last weekend's Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff does not believe that “porpoising” is an issue for the Silver Arrows any longer.

Mercedes have suffered from a significant lack of performance due to the ground effect aerodynamic this year, and their ultimately flawed design aerodynamically meant that the floor was violently hitting the track surface in the first five races.

They appeared to have a better handle of the issue in Spain as George Russell claimed his second podium of the season, and they believed that this would give the more license to run the car lower.

READ: ‘We simply can’t do that again’: Mercedes make admission about Hamilton and Russell

This required stiffer suspension and, unfortunately with the bumps in Monaco and Baku, this actually made the bouncing worse – so bad, in fact, that Sir Lewis Hamilton struggled to climb out of his car after the Azerbaijan Grand Prix due to back pain.

The bouncing caused by how low the car is has now been identified as the main issue by Wolff.

“I think porpoising in itself is maybe not the key thing, it’s just that the car feels rigid – that kind of overshadows everything,” he explained.

“We are talking about set-up directions that are influenced by the bouncing, rather than say ‘okay, we are not having that now, let’s look how we can make the car faster’.”

The silver lining is that the Silver Arrows did at least find a fix for “porpoising,” but the setup choices as a result of that, by chief strategist James Vowles’ admission, were too aggressive.

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“He [Hamilton] is an elite athlete that will push the bounds of endurance of himself and the car and that’s what Formula 1 drivers do, that’s what makes them exceptional,” he said during the team’s YouTube debrief after the race in Baku.

“On this occasion though, we pushed the package and our drivers too far, we are putting them into significant discomfort and we simply can’t do that again.

“We have a responsibility now to make sure that this doesn’t carry on.”

READ: Russell insists the FIA aren’t trying to help Mercedes

The FIA are set to introduce a directive in Canada this weekend that ensures teams cannot bounce excessively, or they will be banned from the event.

This means that some teams will have to be less aggressive with how aggressive they run the setup, in turn looking after the drivers’ welfare.