Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell had a painful run at the Baku street circuit on Sunday. The racing team struggled with a different bouncing issue due to the bumpiness of the track. Hamilton was in extreme discomfort driving the W13 and described the race as the most painful of his F1 career. The seven-time world champ revealed that he was concerned about either failing to finish due to the discomfort or crashing due to the car’s instability. Lewis’ teammate George Russell also spoke about the painful race that if the team does not fix the issue soon, they could end up dealing with a major incident.
The German racing team addressed the discomfort experienced by its drivers during the Azerbaijan GP. The Mercedes representative also talked about Hamilton’s fitness to participate in the Canadian GP. Mercedes’ motorsport strategy director James Vowles talked about a different kind of bouncing that the Silver Arrows encountered in Monaco and then in Baku during a post-race debrief video. Vowles also stated that Mercedes put its drivers in significant discomfort, which must be dealt with soon.
Talking about Lewis’ condition, James was pleased to inform that he saw the Briton in the morning and spent a few hours with him. Hamilton was okay, and he would be back in the W13 during the upcoming weekend in Montreal. The British engineer mentioned that Lewis is an elite athlete capable of pushing himself and the car beyond the bounds of endurance. Vowles disclosed that the Silver Arrows pushed the package and their drivers too far. Thus, the team put them in extreme discomfort, which is unacceptable. He added, “And we simply can’t do that.”
Vowles Explains How Porpoising And The Current Bouncing Issue Is Different
The Mercedes chief strategist suggested that their drivers were not the only ones suffering from the extreme bouncing due to the track’s bumpiness. He stated that several drivers made a comment about being in similar discomfort and pain in the media. Vowles felt that it was the team’s responsibility to ensure the issue did not carry on ahead.
Several racing teams were concerned about the extreme bouncing that the new generations of cars experienced during the last racing weekend. Meanwhile, Mercedes has dealt with porpoising since the start of the season until they came to Barcelona. The Spanish GP became a turning point for the Silver Arrows as they countered the porpoising, reduced the floor height, and gained some performance.
However, the German racing team experienced a completely different kind of bouncing in Monaco and Baku. The drivers were informed that the FIA was open to some simple rules changes to reduce the poor ride quality. But, teams like Red Bull are not in favor of any amendments. Christian Horner has claimed the bouncing issue was a Mercedes team problem.
Further, James Vowles explained the difference between porpoising and the new form of bouncing. Vowles shared how the team countered porpoising and the different levels of challenges they faced in Monaco and Baku. The Mercedes strategy director thought that the new bouncing was a second issue that was masked by porpoising. James was confident and proud of the way the Silver Arrows countered porpoising. He explained there was a subtle difference in the kind of bouncing the team experienced in the last two races.
Vowels shared that introducing a new floor decreased the ride height of the W13, resulting in a performance boost. However, the floor is hitting the deck quite hard due to the bumpiness of the track. And this creates the bouncing Mercedes is experiencing currently. James felt that his team still have a long journey to learn everything they need to compete at the front. However, Vowles pointed out that the performance variation in tracks will also make a difference in how the car performs. He added, “Canada for sure will be very different from Silverstone in terms of how our car performs.”