Mercedes car concept, not F1’s 2022 rules, to blame for issues

After a weekend of intense political drama in Canada over the FIA’s intervention in trying to reduce car bouncing, a number of teams have been left unhappy about the situation.

Matters reached a head in a team principals’ meeting on Saturday when Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto and Horner confronted Wolff about over-dramatizing his team’s problems to help get the FIA ​​involved.

Wolff angrily responded to their stance and accused them of putting political gain in front of driver safety.

Horner remains steadfast though that Mercedes’ issues are nothing to do with flaws in the new F1 rules for 2022 which have produced stiffly set-up ground effect cars.

Instead, he thinks the matter boils down simply to Mercedes having taken a wrong turn with the concept of its W13 car in the way that it only performs to its max when run very close to the ground.

Asked by Motorsport.com if he felt the porpoising debate was a political one rather than a safety one, Horner said: “The issue with Mercedes is more severe, or certainly has been prior to [Canada] than any other car.

“That surely is down to the team. That’s within their control to deal with that, if it’s not affecting others.

“I know it was said other drivers have been complaining. Our drivers have never complained ever about porpoising. They’ve said certain circuits could do with tidying up, perhaps resurfacing in places.

“But we haven’t had an issue with bouncing. The problem is they’re running their car so stiff. I think their concept is the issue rather than the regulation.”

Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

Horner said he was not impressed by the way in which the FIA ​​got involved in matters by releasing a technical Canadian directive on the eve of the Grand Prix as teams were traveling to the event.

He also shared concerns expressed by other teams querying how Mercedes had been able to fit a second stay to its car so quickly, prompting conspiracy about whether not the German car manufacturer had had advanced knowledge of what was going on.

“There is a process of these things to be introduced,” he said. “I think what was particularly disappointing was the second stay.

“It has to be discussed in a technical forum, and that is overtly bias to sorting one team’s problems out – which were the only team that turned up here with it, even in advance of the TD. So work that one out.”

The FIA ​​is due to meet with technical directors this week to try to make progress on the porpoising issue, as there remains a medium term plan to give teams more ability to manage things from 2023 with rules tweaks.

But Horner is skeptical about the need to do anything drastic, as he reckons by next year all teams will be on top of the matter.

“You’ve got some of the brightest engineering talent in the world, and things will converge,” he said.

“I doubt we’ll be sitting here next year talking about the bouncing, even if the regulations are left alone.

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“These cars are still relatively new, I think as teams add developments to their cars, you’ll probably start to see them start to address some of these issues. And you can’t just suddenly change technical regulations halfway through a season.

“If a car is dangerous, a team shouldn’t field it: it has that choice. Or the FIA, if they feel an individual car is dangerous, they always have a black flag at their disposal.”

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