behavior “pathetic” and “hypocritical”. Those are the strong words of Toto Wolff, furious with his rivals as the issue of porpoises gripped everyone on the sidelines of the Canadian Grand Prix. Mercedes is at the center of discussions following the intervention decided by the FIA on Thursday on a technical directive aimed at reducing the rebound phenomenon in single-seaters.
In this regard, Mercedes tested a second reinforcement on its floor on Friday, a day after its acceptance by the famous directive. A particularly tight deadline, with some teams wondering: was the German team informed about this change before the others? Mercedes ensures that this is not the case when it finally abandoned this second stay for fear of a complaint, as the texts between the Technical Guideline and the Technical Regulations are not currently being aligned. In addition, the Brackley team ensures that this element in the fight against the porpoise ultimately did not bring satisfaction.
The situation does not upset Toto Wolff, who also believes some teams are directing their drivers to encourage them to minimize the porpoise problem, urging the FIA not to be too intrusive on the matter. The tone would have been even higher at the team managers’ meeting in Montreal on Saturday morning. Sources point out that Toto Wolff has gotten out of hand and has lashed out at those trying to put a performance advantage ahead of a security concern. When asked about these supposed events, the Mercedes director confirmed his growing annoyance.
“It’s a sport where you try to keep or gain a competitive advantage”he explains. “But this situation has clearly gone too far. All the drivers, at least one per team, said they felt pain after Baku, that they had trouble keeping the car on track, or that their vision was blurry. Team bosses who try to manipulate what is said to maintain a competitive advantage and try to play politics when the FIA is trying to find a quick fix to at least put the cars in a better situation are hypocritical [lors de la réunion].”
“I’m not just talking about Mercedes. All cars suffered in one way or another in Baku, and that’s still the case here. The cars are too stiff. You bounce, or call it what you want effects you can’t even judge. It’s a safety hazard, and small tampering behind the back or briefing the pilots is just pathetic.
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and George Russell were the most vocal drivers warning of the risks of the porpoise, but others have done so before. Toto Wolff speaks out against those who would imagine his drivers making noise in hopes of getting a faster car thanks to FIA intervention.
“People will obviously wonder if my position is genuine or not”continues Toto Wolff. “That’s why I say it’s not just our problem. A Red Bull driver, in this case Pérez, says that at 300 km/h when the problem occurs, even when braking you can’t see anything or position the car properly. After that we hear the words of Sainz, of Ricciardo, we hear what Ocon, Magnussen and our two drivers said. It’s not a team problem. It’s a ground effect car design issue that needs to be fixed before anything happens. And it’s not just about putting the cars higher because that doesn’t solve the stiffness problem due to the aero properties.”
With Jonathan Noble
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