In the debate about bouncing Formula 1 cars, the dispute between Red Bull and Mercedes has reignited. But it is not only the Silver Arrows that are complaining.
Silver Arrows star Lewis Hamilton’s vehement complaints about the painful bumps in the cockpits of the new cars are exaggerated in the view of Red Bull team boss Christian Horner. According to the Briton, he would also instruct his drivers to “moan as much as possible on the radio and make a big issue out of it” if his car had a similar functional problem.
Mercedes driver George Russell, who is spokesman for the drivers’ union, denied a strategy of dramatisation. “Nobody says things like that to get an advantage,” Hamilton’s teammate said. After the recent race in Baku, Hamilton had complained of severe back pain and headaches because of his car’s severe hobbling – also known as porpoising. TV pictures showed him shortly after the end of the race apparently struggling to get out of his car. “It looks bad and feels 100 times worse,” he let it be known.
The porpoising problem
A number of other drivers also reported similar experiences, mostly drivers from teams whose cars are more affected by porpoising. The bouncing is caused by the cars, which have changed a lot this season. At high speed, the cars are pressed to the ground on the straights until they briefly touch the asphalt and are thus pushed up again. The drivers are shaken violently again and again.
Under pressure from the drivers, the world governing body Fia wants to investigate the extent and possible health consequences of the bouncing, according to media reports. Red Bull team boss Horner, however, rejects a change in the rules: “It would be unfair to punish those who have done a good job.” Already in the previous year, there had been repeated disputes between Red Bull and Mercedes, who at the time were engaged in a hard-fought title battle.