Lewis Hamilton had become the biggest talking point of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix when he struggled to get out of his W13. As he complained about his back throughout the practice sessions and the race, the weekend wasn’t easy for him. Apart from Lewis, many other drivers too complained about the porpoising of the new 2022 cars. As concerns raise over the driver’s health and well-being, it seems like the FIA could soon get involved to solve the issue.
Given the new cars will be around for a few years before major rule changes in 2026, it is important to control the level of porpoising. While some teams are against the rule changes, Mercedes in a recent video explained that this can’t go on. Detailing the porpoising and giving an update on Lewis’s health, the video answered a lot of questions for fans.
Mercedes explains the Lewis Hamilton struggles and why it can’t happen again
Mercedes motorsport strategy director, James Vowles, was of the opinion that F1 teams put their drivers in significant discomfort. In the latest race-debrief video; Vowels explained the bouncing experienced by Lewis Hamilton, and why the pain they experienced was not acceptable.
“I am pleased to report that Lewis is here this morning, I spent a few hours with him and he is OK. He will be back in the car in Montreal,” James started saying. “He is an elite athlete that will push the bounds of endurance of himself and the car and that’s what Formula 1 drivers do, that’s what makes them exceptional.” He further explained that Mercedes pushed the package to the extreme on both Lewis and George’s car.
That caused major discomfort to both drivers and Mercedes can’t do that again. James also added that apart from Lewis, there are also other drivers that complained about the extreme levels of bouncing. George Russell, in particular, had mentioned that it was only a time before a major incident was to happen. It remains to be seen what happens around the issues pertaining to porpoising.
Mercedes explains the difference: porpoising, bouncing, and bottoming
Steering the conversation away from the issues, James Vowles also explained the difference between the terms. According to him, porpoising, bouncing, and bottoming are three different topics. And while Mercedes has witnessed porpoising; what happened in Monaco was more about bouncing.
“We definitely suffered porpoising in the earlier races and in Barcelona we didn’t and we’ve made a tremendous amount of effort on our package to make sure that we tried our best to resolve it and I am confident we’ve made a step.” James further added that in Barcelona, the car was a lot more stable. Meaning that they could lower it and the package worked well aerodynamically; which helped in producing performance.
He concluded that the eight-time constructor champions had a long way to go in terms of performance; ending with the fact that Canada will be different from how their performance will be in Silverstone.