Mercedes: What’s gone wrong at the F1 and can they recover?
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Red Bull and Mercedes have both reacted to new FIA rule changes set to be launched at the French Grand Prix this month. It comes after drivers such as Lewis Hamilton complained of suffering back pain at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix due to excessive bouncing.
The FIA has established a new mathematical formula to determine the degree a car can bounce safely. This limit can be increased or decreased but teams have been urged to make changes to their cars now.
However, the FIA has warned teams who have damaged their underfloor plank could be referred to the stewards. Christian Horner appeared to hit back at the changes, warning they must be simple for teams to fully understand.
He said: “The rules have to be black and white. That’s how we end up with encyclopaedias that are way too complicated. There’s no such thing as the intent of the rules. It’s binary, it’s one or the other.”
Under the new guidelines and to ensure the rules are fair, the floor must not flex more than two millimetres. It is understood the new rules are also intended to close a loophole that may be getting exploited by teams on the grid.
Some constructors are believed to have engineered their planks and skid block to create some cushioning meaning they are flexing more than is allowed. Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said he was “shocked” by the new rule as his squad didn’t know this was even possible.
He explained: “Nobody had an idea until the FIA brought it up in the last Technical Advisory Committee. Which was to a great surprise of all the teams because what’s in the regulations, and what was the intent of the regulations, it’s pretty clear.
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“There is no argument why that could deflect more than what’s in the regs. A bit of a surprise to say the least, more of a shocker.” However, Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin claimed the new clampdown could present an opportunity for Mercedes to close the gap to some of their rivals.
He added: “When it came to light, we realised there are opportunities that we’ve perhaps not been taking or exploiting. So, it won’t affect us in how we run our car. It may well be it affects our competitors and by virtue of that we move a little bit closer.”
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