Leading Formula 1 commentator Martin Brundle has weighed in on proposed changes to the sport’s regulations over porpoising complaints, arguing it’s a problem that the affected teams must resolve.
Since the introduction of new technical regulations at the start of the season, giving rise to a completely new generation of cars, Mercedes’ W13 has been severely impaired by porpoising.
Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton made several radio calls throughout the Azerbaijan Grand Prix complaining of intense back pain before struggling to get out of the car after the race.
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Hamilton’s teammate George Russell, who is the president of the Grand Prix Drivers Association, says the FIA must find solutions to protect the drivers’ health.
Despite the burden, both Mercedes drivers picked up points in Baku with Russell finishing third and Hamilton fourth.
“The teams that have got it sorted are clearly saying ‘that’s Mercedes’ problem and it’s not Formula 1’s problem’,” Brundle told Sky Sports News.
“There’s no doubt about it, it looks particularly uncomfortable.
“Of course, [Mercedes] can fix it by raising the car but then they lose a huge amount of performance.
“So, they need to get the car low, stiff on the suspension and stiff on the side wall of the new tires as well, and they’ve had to sacrifice comfort for performance.
“What’s surprising, really, is that Mercedes just can’t seem to get a handle on what looks like, actually, quite an excellent car, if they could just unlock it.”
Red Bull, who boasts a design largely immune to porpoising, said it would not support a regulation change.
“If it was something that was affecting everybody, then yes, [the regulations should change] on the grounds of safety, but you can see that some cars are absolutely fine, and others are struggling,” team principal Christian Horner said.
“Therefore, I think the emphasis is on the team to sort it out as opposed to changing the regulations. It’s something that they’re struggling with, it’s not something that our drivers are complaining about.
“I think it would be unfair if there was a change just because they’ve missed the target.”
It has been reported that the teams voted against a plan to reduce the impact of porpoising before the start of the season, but Brundle sees little chance they’ll find a compromise now.
“Generally, we had porpoising back in the 80s. When you have these ground effect cars, it’s always been an issue. It is still in sports car racing; I was at Les Mans and in the prototypes there they have porpoising and ground effect issues in terms of bouncing. It needs managing.
“To ask the other teams to change the regulations to help Mercedes is a bit like asking a turkey to vote for Christmas.
“I’m not underplaying what George Russell and Lewis Hamilton are going through, because it does look particularly painful.
“And, the Ferrari drivers just at the crucial braking points that looks plain tricky to me, I don’t know how they go into the corners frankly.”
The Canadian Grand Prix kicks off with practice one on Saturday.
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