Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has dismissed suggestions that the “porpoising” issue that plagued the Silver Arrows in the early part of the year affected their cars in Monaco.
The new technical regulations in 2022 saw a return to ground effect aerodynamics and, as such, lower ride heights were necessitated.
The “porpoising” phenomenon that emerged during winter testing involved the floor of the car violently making contact with the track surface, thus resulting in nauseating head movement inside the cockpit.
Not all of that can be attributed to the ride height though. Mercedes interesting skinny sidepod design Is thought to upsetting the aerodynamic efficiency of the W13, and the lack of balance has subsequently caused more turbulence.
However, in Spain and Miami, they seemed to find a way to mitigate it, and their consistently impressive pace in Barcelona will have come as a relief to the team that scored only their third podium of the season there through George Russell.
There were fears that it returned in Monaco when Sir Lewis Hamilton complained of “an incredible amount of bouncing” during practice, but Wolff insists that the low ride height of the Mercedes was the cause, given the aggressive bumps quintessential of Monaco.
“I don’t think we’ve had bouncing again,” explained the Austrian.
“We are hitting the ground in a very different way. The car is too stiff, too low.”
Mercedes have consistently been a long way off the pace of front-runners Red Bull and Ferrari this season, and the podiums Hamilton and Russell have mustered have been the result of mistakes and reliability issues for the leading two teams.
While Wolff is happy to take the additional points as they come, he wants to earn podiums and wins on merit.
“We have had a few podiums but this is only when something goes wrong in the front, at the moment, I don’t want anything for us gifted,” he added.
“Our team is only third on the road and that is why the fifth and sixth positions are where we belong but this is not where we want to be.
“This is why, if you are inheriting a podium, it is nice, it is good for the points long-term but I don’t want any of that.”
Hamilton said ahead of the weekend in Monte Carlo that Mercedes are “nearly on the right path,” and they key to getting there will be implementing the right upgrades to make the car faster and more comfortable.
This is of course easier said than done, and the seven-time champion has since maintained that the Brackley-based side need to gain a better comprehension of why the current iteration of the W13 has not been working before they can focus on making major changes.
“I think we need to find out what’s wrong with this car before we can make another car, if we started making another car we could easily get it wrong,” explained Hamilton.
“I think it’s about understanding this fully, which we haven’t done yet, and giving us a path to where to go.”
What he certainly can say though is that there is a great deal of characteristics on the 2022 car that he will not want to see on the Mercedes next year.
“There are definitely a lot of things I wouldn’t want from this car in next year’s car, so I’ve already included them,” added the 103-time race winner.
Russell finished fifth in Monaco, while Hamilton spent the majority of the race getting a good look at the back of the Alpine cars of Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon as he finished eighth behind the Spaniard.