Wolff fires accusation at rival teams as he addresses ‘political manoeuvring’

Safety has become a concern amid the "porpoising" and bouncing due to the new technical regulations.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has indicated that there are some teams on the grid that should be taking the issue of safety a little more seriously as the “porpoising” and bouncing topic continues.

The FIA introduced a directive at the Canadian Grand Prix last time out stating that any team whose car is oscillating over a set amount will be asked to raise their ride height by 10 millimetres.

This came after Sir Lewis Hamilton struggled to get out of his car in Baku, while his team-mate George Russell, as well as Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, have been vocal about the long-term damage the heavy impacts with the track surface can have.

The drivers’ backs, necks and heads are taking a beating as a legacy of it, which can lead to micro-concussions and more serious consequences further down the line.

It was for the purpose of keeping the drivers safe that the governing body will ask the teams to make their cars safer if needs be, but there were implications from Ferrari and Red Bull that there was an ulterior motive at play.

Mercedes have been losing a lot of time on the straight to the leading two teams as a result of the bottoming so, if the field is levelled out, Mercedes’ deficit could be diminished.

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The consensus from the German side’s rivals is that Mercedes can always raise their car to stop the bouncing, but this would cost them even more time in the corners, so they are asking the FIA to fix the regulations for them to cancel out the advantage Red Bull and Ferrari have after nailing the ground effect aerodynamics.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner said that the directive should have gone through a “consultation” process, while Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto wondered if the directive was even “applicable” due to its potential influence on the regulations.

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Wolff insists that he is not trying to peg back the other teams from a performance perspective, warning that a solution needs to be found to avoid serious injury.

“The political manoeuvring that has been going on doesn’t consider what is at the core of this topic,” said the Austrian.

“And at the core of this topic is that, since the beginning of the season, race drivers have been complaining about pain to drive these cars. 

“Back pain, blurred vision – we are talking about micro-concussions and people are giving their feedback.

READ: ‘No’: Wolff shuts down talk of Hamilton racing with Mercedes in 2024

“In literally every team – I think just Alfa Romeo and Williams I haven’t heard anything from – drivers have referred to the topic and it is something that we just need to tackle, whatever the solution is.”

The 50-year-old suggested that, if he wanted to influence the regulations to help his team recover the ground they have lost, he would have pushed for a more fundamental design change.

Therefore, he wants other team bosses to start being less frivolous about the issue.

“Whatever technical [change] can be implemented [we need] to go in that direction,” explained Wolff.

“And we need to be aware that this is not about cutting a winglet that is an advantage for a team or a double diffuser. 

“It is all of us as team principals and teams, we have the responsibility to not take this topic lightly.”

Mercedes are currently third in the Constructors’ Standings with nine rounds gone of the season, 116 points adrift of leaders Red Bull.