Mercedes’ Toto Wolff, Red Bull’s Christian Horner, and Ferrari’s Mattia Binotto butted head during the team principal meeting in Montreal after the introduction of FIA’s new technical directives. The governing body proposed a change in regulation after several drivers complained about the violent bouncing experience of the 2022 car at high speed. Thus, the FIA has issued a directive to safeguard the drivers. It limits the number of vertical oscillations experienced by a car during a lap or through the race. While Mercedes had been lobbying for a change and supported the decision, Red Bull and Ferrari were against the regulation change. As a result, a heated argument transpired between the team bosses with Netflix’s cameras around.
Red Bull is leading the championship, and they have not experienced a lot of porpoising with their RB-18. Therefore, the team boss Christian Horner suggested that the rule changes are unfair. Because only Mercedes is the team who has struggled more than most other teams. Horner also claimed that porpoising was a Mercedes problem as they failed to get their W13’s design right. Meanwhile, Wolff claimed that the team bosses were trying to manipulate the situation to keep the competitive lead. Toto felt that it was disingenuous for teams to play political games after the FIA’s quick solution.
Toto believes that porpoising was a joint problem for everyone in Formula One. He claimed that the design issue needed to be solved quickly. The former Austrian driver also said that porpoising could lead to long-term effects which cannot be judged. He mentioned that the bouncing also poses a safety risk. Wolff added that teams coming up with manipulations, Chinese whispers, or briefing the drivers was quite pitiful. The Mercedes Boss admitted that people would question his sincerity on the issue. He added, “That’s why I’m saying it’s not only our problem.”
Horner Accuses Wolff Of Showcasing Theatrics In Front Of Cameras
The new technical directive aims to counter/reduce the effects of porpoising in the newly designed F1 cars. Therefore, the teams would have to alter their setups if they experience more vertical oscillations beyond the set limit. However, Red Bull and Ferrari felt that bouncing was an issue the teams needed to solve personally. Horner and Binotto claimed that the directive should have clarified the rules instead of changing them.
After winning in Montreal, Horner revealed that Ferrari presented their stand on the new TD’s introduction. He also felt that Wolff campaigning for a regulation change was ironic. He pointed out that the W13 looked quite quick without a lot of bouncing in Canada. The Red Bull boss felt that Mercedes’ form in Montreal proved that the issue was within the team rather than everybody’s problem.
Further, Netflix cameras had been following Wolff over the Canadian weekend for the shooting of Drive to Survive. Horner said the team principal meeting had a theatre element. Christian added, “So maybe with Lewis’ new movie coming along, he’s getting in a role for it.”