Wolff reveals if Mercedes will ditch ‘narrow sidepods’ while Verstappen dismisses number one driver suggestion

Mercedes suffered once again from horrific porpoising at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, with Toto Wolff believing a "major intervention" is needed to solve the issue.

The Mercedes F1 Team are once again scratching their heads and looking for answers, as the W13’s porpoising issue reached its worst stage yet at the Baku City Circuit.

Despite the team hoping they’d solved the issue at the Spanish Grand Prix, the team suffered from bouncing both in Monaco and now in Azerbaijan.

Both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell are a long way off the leading pace, with Russell qualifying 5th and Hamilton 7th.

Staggeringly, Russell qualified 1.4s slower than Charles Leclerc who took pole.

The W13 is slow down the 2.22km main straight as well, where they appear to be losing the majority of their time.

“I can’t imagine that we want to keep driving like this for the next four years,” George Russell said after Friday practice.

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The British driver is fed up of the bouncing, which has raised safety concerns over the drivers health.

It has been questioned whether the dramatic porpoising issues that some teams are facing, could cause “micro-concussions” to drivers.

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In some cases, drivers have been unable to see where they’re going, a terrifying thought when travelling at 200 mph.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has discussed the problem, with the Austrian explaining that a “major intervention” is needed to save not only this season, but also next year.

“The drivers say they can hardly see the track,” the Austrian said.

“Regarding the lap-time, it’s totally limiting. Today we saw that the problems have not been solved and now we have to take the decisive steps so that we don’t take this problem into the second half of the season or even into next year.

“I don’t think it’s about our narrow sidepods,” he said whilst analysing where the issue could be solved.

“Wider bodywork will certainly help in terms of stiffness, but it’s not necessarily at the front – it’s at the back.

“You have to look at that and all of the other issues like dampers, springs, suspension kinematics – it’s all a bit complicated, but we are doing all of that work now.”

Despite the immediate issues facing the eight-time defending Constructors’ Champions, Wolff remained in high spirits following Friday’s running in Baku.

The Austrian is hoping that Red Bull senior advisor Dr Helmut Marko, is correct in expecting Mercedes to be fighting for victories soon.

“For the first time in 10 years I hope that Helmut is right,” Wolff joked.

Marko will be far happier than Wolff following the opening two days of the Azerbaijan GP, after Sergio Pérez qualified 2nd and Max Verstappen in 3rd.

With Charles Leclerc on pole, Marko believes that Ferrari are “superior to us on one lap”.

However, race pace looks set to be a different story with both Red Bull drivers looking exceptionally strong ahead of the race.

“On the other hand, we are slightly ahead on the long run,” said the 79-year-old.

Verstappen who currently leads the World Championship, also believes that Ferrari are ahead of the Austrian team at the moment.

“Ferrari has the fastest car at the moment,” said the Dutch driver.

“We have mainly benefitted from the mistakes they made in the last races.”

Verstappen has been behind his in-form team-mate all weekend so far, something which will most likely make his father somewhat unhappy.

Jos Verstappen spoke out against Red Bull and Pérez following the Monaco GP, insisting that his son is treated as the number one driver.

READ: FIA ban racing driver’s father after fight breaks out in the paddock

The 24-year-old is trying to not get involved in any of what’s being said, and insists that there is “nothing wrong”.

“I don’t worry about any of that or what people are thinking, writing or saying,” said the championship leader.

“There is nothing wrong and I don’t need to hear from the team that I’m the number one driver or anything like that.”