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Wolff slams ‘pitiful’ behaviour in row over F1’s ‘porpoising’ problem

20 June 2022 - 07:29 By Reuters
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff says all drivers are suffering from a design issue that needs to be solved.
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff says all drivers are suffering from a design issue that needs to be solved.
Image: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has accused rival Formula One principals of "pitiful" behaviour and of playing politics in a row over how to solve the problem of cars bouncing at high speed.

The Austrian took part in a stormy bosses' meeting at the Canadian Grand Prix, with many unhappy about a technical directive (TD) issued by the governing FIA on safety grounds.

Red Bull's Christian Horner, whose team are leading both championships and have a more stable car, has said it is unfair to change the rules for all mid-season when one team is struggling more than most.

Alpine's Otmar Szafnauer said on Saturday his team ran their car at a ride height that combined performance and safety and others could do the same if they wanted.

"It's just some choose not to and lobby the FIA to make changes," he said.

Wolff, whose once-dominant team have been the worst affected by the "porpoising" phenomenon of cars bouncing, recognised everyone was trying to keep or gain a competitive advantage, but said the situation had "clearly gone too far".

He said all drivers were suffering from a design issue that needed to be solved.

"Team principals trying to manipulate what is being said in order to keep the competitive advantage, and trying to play political games when the FIA tries to come up with a quick solution to at least put the cars in a better position, is disingenuous," he said.

"That's what I said. We have long-term (health) effects that we can't even judge," he said.

"But at any time this is a safety risk and then coming up with little manipulations in the background, or Chinese whispers, or briefing the drivers is just pitiful."

Mercedes' seven times world champion Lewis Hamilton suffered severe back pain and struggled to get out of his car at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix last weekend, and said it had been his toughest race because of the bouncing.

Team mate George Russell, who finished third in Baku, has said he fears it is only a matter of time before the problem triggers a major accident. 


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