Canadian Grand Prix: Mercedes boss Toto Wolff brands rivals ‘pathetic’ in bouncing row

Canadian Grand Prix: Mercedes boss Toto Wolff brands rivals ‘pathetic’ in bouncing row

Canadian Grand Prix: Mercedes boss Toto Wolff brands rivals ‘pathetic’ in bouncing row

Toto Wolff and Mattia Binotto
Mercedes’ Toto Wolff and Ferrari’s Mattia Binotto have both seen their teams’ cars bounce this season, but the issue has had a bigger impact on the Mercedes’ performance

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has accused rivals of “pathetic” and “dishonest” behavior in line over cars bouncing in Formula 1.

Wolff clashed with Red Bull’s Christian Horner and Ferrari’s Mattia Binotto during a team boss meeting on Saturday during the Canadian Grand Prix.

And afterwards he said that they had engaged in “background manipulations”.

Binotto said the cars’ behavior “needs to be improved… [But] it has to be done through the right process.”

Red Bull declined to comment.

The spat comes amid a controversial intervention by the FIA’s governing body over the matter, which followed requests from drivers to participate at the previous race in Azerbaijan.

Wolff’s problem was with Horner’s view that it is wrong to penalize teams that have managed to control both bouncing and porpoises – two different but related matters – and with Binotto taking what Mercedes sees as procedural objections to attempts to make changes to the cars to make at this point .

Wolff’s drivers, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, have been among the most outspoken on bounce, as Mercedes is one of the teams that struggles with it the most.

“This is a sport where you try to maintain or gain a competitive advantage, but this situation has gone too far,” said Wolff.

“All the drivers – at least one in each team – have said they were in pain after Baku, having trouble keeping the car on track or having blurred vision.

“And team leaders trying to manipulate what is being said to maintain their competitive advantage and playing political games when the FIA ​​is trying to come up with a quick fix to at least put the cars in a better position is unfair and that’s what I said.

“I’m not just talking about the Mercedes – all the cars suffered in Baku in one way or another and still do here.

“The car is too stiff or the car bounces, whatever you want to call it. This is a common problem that we have in F1. It’s a design problem that needs to be solved.

“We’re going to have long-term effects that we can’t even assess and this is a safety risk at any time. Then it’s just pathetic to come up with little background manipulations or Chinese whispers or brief a driver.”

Hamilton said he’s been taking painkillers this week and repeated sessions of physical therapy, including acupuncture, in an effort to fix the back problems the bouncing is causing.

The problem stems from the fact that the new rules introduced this year have reintroduced a phenomenon known as ‘ground effect’ into F1.

This forces teams to run the cars with very stiff suspension and close to the ground for maximum performance.

This makes them susceptible to a phenomenon known as ‘porpoises’, where a disturbance in airflow under the car body leads to high-frequency bouncing on the straights.

In addition, the stiff suspension and low ride height allow the cars to bounce over bumps.

Russell said: “There are so many different factors, Porpoise is something a lot of teams are on top of, but the overall stiffness is just immense. It needs to be addressed. There are things that were taken off the cars last year to make this to make things easier. But it’s had quite a knock-on effect.”

Those comments are a reference to the simplification of suspension systems this year for cost reasons and other technical changes, such as the removal of devices called “inerters” that turn off cars.

Meanwhile, teams are dissatisfied with the way the FIA ​​has handled the issue.

It issued a technical guideline on Thursday ahead of the Canadian race, which was notified by many teams as too late and without prior discussion.

In addition, many viewed the ideas in the technical guideline aimed at tackling the rules as too complex and unpoliteable, especially a plan to analyze data from the cars to come up with an “aerodynamic oscillation measure” that teams can’t. exceed.

There was also criticism of what was seen as the FIA’s decision to backtrack on the directive in Montreal on Friday afternoon. The FIA ​​maintained that teams had misinterpreted the guideline and had always said it was intended to be the start of an evaluation process aimed at addressing the issue over a period of time.

Aston Martin team boss Mike Krack described the directive’s timing as “not ideal”, while another team boss personally said the timing was “incredible” and that the FIA’s plans would introduce “a ridiculous level of complexity”.

A number of leading figures also said they believed FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem had demanded immediate action so that he could be seen as a “friend of the drivers”.

This view comes against a background of general discontent within F1 over the way the FIA ​​has behaved on a number of points since Ben Sulayem became president last December.

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