October 5, 2022

George Russell is calling for talks with Formula 1 to find a way to reduce the propensity to porpoise with the current generation of cars after a painful afternoon at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Mercedes in particular have struggled with aero rebound for most of the year, and although improvements at the Spanish Grand Prix facilitated a strong weekend for the defending constructors’ champion in Barcelona, ​​the porpoising has returned with a vengeance to Baku.

Baku’s long straights are the last thing Russell wants to see in front of his Mercedes. Simon Galloway/Motorsport Pictures

The problem is particularly serious in Azerbaijan, where the cars are flat for more than 2.1km on the front straight, the longest single outburst in the sport. The faster the cars drive, the more energized the ground effect becomes, sucking the cars closer to the ground until they bottom out, causing the bounce.

The effect is so extreme here that virtually every car suffered during testing, although several teams have previously thought they were right about the porpoising.

Russell, who was seventh and 1.3 seconds off the pace, expressed his aversion to the rebounds generated by the current generation of cars, and he doubled down in Baku calling on the sport to discuss rule changes to stamp it. out.

“It’s just that the cars drive so close to the ground,” he said. “It’s crazy out there in those high-speed corners – the car is bottoming out.

“I think it’s the same for everyone and it’s really not comfortable to drive. I don’t know what the future holds for this era of cars, but I don’t see us being able – or I don’t think it’s fair – to race like this for the next four years or all that we have.

“For all of us, conversations are going to be necessary because everyone is in this together, really.”

Russell revealed earlier in the season that the worst of Mercedes’ porpoises gave him chest pains, and team-mate Lewis Hamilton said he was feeling the effects of two hours of bouncing around Baku.

“I’ll get through this,” he said. “A little sore but, yeah, we’re hitting some serious speeds at the end here. It bounces a lot.

“There are no other issues that have surfaced; it’s the same, pretty much the same as the last race, really. It’s mostly bouncing back.

Russell and Hamilton were both discouraged by W13’s lack of performance in Azerbaijan, despite the rebound. Russell said he didn’t expect to be able to catch Ferrari and Red Bull Racing before qualifying.

“It was a tough day,” he said. “We weren’t as competitive as we would have liked. [Ferrari and Red Bull Racing] just have an inherently faster car than ours, and we did everything we could to try to catch up.

“I think [it’s down to tires], but I think if we’re totally over the tires, we’re definitely not going to close that gap – they’re just too far ahead. So that’s probably 50% of our problems; the rest is just the lack of performance we have right now.

Hamilton was also puzzled, but he was optimistic he could at least close the 0.3 second gap to Russell on Saturday.

“We tried something experimental on my car and it wasn’t that great, to be honest,” he said. “At least we tried it and got some data on it, and now we’ll go through it and for tomorrow we’ll probably go back to what we changed.

“I can’t really tell you where 1.6 seconds or anything [to the leaders is] – it is far. Most of the time it’s in a straight line.

Presented by

Subscribe to F1 TV Pro for your ultimate F1 experience. Live and on demand. Immerse yourself in a unique, multi-screen way to watch F1 with exclusive on-board cameras, pre-race broadcasts and live data. Available on your favorite devices including web, iOS, Android, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Roku and Chromecast.