RACING

Martin Brundle: Mercedes must unlock ‘great’ car, don’t wait for rule change to solve porpoising

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Lewis Hamilton suffered from severe back pain during the Azerbaijan GP, ​​while George Russell believes there needs to be ‘wider conversations’ about porpoising and rebounding. despite the problems, Mercedes picked up points in Baku, with Russell finishing third and Hamilton fourth

Last update: 06/13/22 11:37 p.m.

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Martin Brundle is surprised that Mercedes is struggling to unlock its car’s potential and continues to have problems

Martin Brundle is surprised that Mercedes is struggling to unlock its car’s potential and continues to have problems

Martin Brundle says he is surprised Mercedes can’t seem to unleash the potential of their ‘great’ car and sees little chance of rival teams voting to change the regulations in their favour.

Since new regulations were introduced at the start of the 2022 Formula 1 season, Mercedes’ new W13 has been particularly hard hit by porpoising and bouncing issues.

In Azerbaijan, Lewis Hamilton said the race was the most “painful” of his career and only adrenaline helped him reach the checkered flag, while team-mate George Russell thinks you have to have larger conversations about problem solving in sport.

“The teams that have sorted it out are saying clearly that it’s Mercedes’ problem and it’s not Formula 1’s problem,” Brundle said. Sky Sports News.

“There’s no doubt about it, it looks particularly uncomfortable.

Hear about Hamilton's driving experience at Baku Circuit and the issues it encounters

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Hear about Hamilton’s driving experience at Baku Circuit and the issues it encounters

Hear about Hamilton’s driving experience at Baku Circuit and the issues it encounters

“Sure, [Mercedes] can fix it by lifting the car, but then they lose a lot of performance.

“So they have to have a low car, stiff on the suspension and stiff on the sidewall of the new tires as well, and they had to sacrifice comfort for performance.

“What’s really surprising is that Mercedes just can’t figure out what actually looks like a great car, if they could just unlock it.”

Red Bull leads the drivers’ and constructors’ championships and team principal Christian Horner has indicated he would be unwilling to vote for a rule change.

He argued: “If it was something that affected everyone, then yes, [the regulations should change] for safety reasons, but you can see that some cars are doing great and some are struggling.

“So I think the focus is on the team to fix the problem rather than changing the regulations. It’s something they struggle with, it’s not something our drivers struggle with. complain.

“I think it would be unfair if there was a change just because they missed the mark.”

Watch Azerbaijan GP highlights from Baku City Circuit

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Watch Azerbaijan GP highlights from Baku City Circuit

Watch Azerbaijan GP highlights from Baku City Circuit

It was reported over the weekend that teams voted against a proposal to reduce porpoising before the start of the season – and Brundle sees little chance of teams changing the rules now.

“Usually we had porpoises in the 80s. When you have these ground effect cars it was always a problem. It’s always in sports car racing; I was at Le Mans and in the prototypes there they have porpoising and ground effect issues in terms of rebounding.

“Asking other teams to change the rules to help Mercedes is like asking a turkey to vote for Christmas.

“I don’t underestimate what George Russell and Lewis Hamilton are going through because it seems particularly painful.

“And, the Ferrari drivers just at the crucial breaking points which just seem tricky to me, I don’t know how they come into the corners frankly.”

Hear about Hamilton's driving experience at Baku Circuit and the issues it encounters

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Hear about Hamilton’s driving experience at Baku Circuit and the issues it encounters

Hear about Hamilton’s driving experience at Baku Circuit and the issues it encounters

After productive practice sessions and qualifying in Azerbaijan, Ferrari had a nightmarish day of racing, with Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc having to retire due to engine failure.

Leclerc, who led the championship after five races, has now dropped to third in the standings behind the Red Bull drivers and Brundle signals Ferrari’s variety of reliability issues will derail their driver’s title hopes.

“We are in the thick of a 22-race season, the races are coming on relentlessly. If you have a big problem you will solve it, but there are several gremlins that Ferrari have.

“Charles Leclerc must be beside himself. He could have had four glorious victories, he sticks the car in pole position, he drives magnificently and then that sort of thing [engine failure] happens to him too much.

Mattia Binotto discusses Ferrari's difficult race day in Baku and looks ahead to the rest of the season

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Mattia Binotto discusses Ferrari’s difficult race day in Baku and looks ahead to the rest of the season

Mattia Binotto discusses Ferrari’s difficult race day in Baku and looks ahead to the rest of the season

“Reliability is costing him dearly now, a chance to become world champion. Strategy has cost him in Monaco a glorious chance of victory in his hometown.

“He loves Ferrari and Ferrari loves him, in such a way that the last time I saw something like that was between Michael Schumacher and the Ferrari team.

“There’s an awful lot of love burning there, but right now Leclerc must be feeling as bruised as Lewis’s back.”

There is little time left for the teams’ engineers to work or the drivers to recuperate, as the Formula 1 season continues this weekend with the Canadian GP.

The first practice for the Canadian GP in Montreal takes place on Friday with full coverage of the weekend, live on Sky Sports F1. Coverage of the Canadian GP begins at 5.30pm BST on Sunday evening with lights out at 7pm.

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