The porpoise was a hot topic with Mercedes drivers talking about the rebound they suffered, but it seemed to be even worse in Baku.
George Russell went so far as to say that it is “only a matter of time before we witness a major accident”.
“Many of us can barely keep the car in a straight line on these bumps and we are making the last two corners at 300km / h. [in Baku] and we’re hitting rock bottom and you can visibly see on the asphalt how close the cars are to the ground, “said rising star Mercedes.” It’s not just necessary with the technology we have in today’s environment, it just seems superfluous that we’re driving a Formula 1 car over 200 millimeters above the ground and is a recipe for disaster.
“I don’t really know what the future holds, but I don’t think we can sustain this for three years or how long these regulations are in place.”
According to the BBC, Russell raised to the FIA the car safety concerns that hit rock bottom during the driver’s briefing on Friday. F1’s new tech regulations allow cars to follow each other more closely, but in an effort to maximize performance, the cars run closer to the ground to help with floor-level aerodynamics efficiency.
In some cases, this has led to porpoise, which is essentially cars bouncing up and down straights. The aerodynamic phenomenon can be triggered by the car running too close to the ground or by a bumpy surface, such as that of the Azerbaijani Grand Prix.
Russell made it clear that he is raising the issue not for a competitive advantage but rather out of a genuine safety concern.
“I mean, for what it’s worth we’re not that massively in favor [regulation change] as a team because with every race we do, we learn more and more about the car and any change will limit that learning. So it’s not like we want it to change, it’s clearly a safety limitation, “said Russell, for ESPN.” The top three teams are also in the same position, Ferrari and Red Bull, well, Ferrari more than Red Bull you can clearly see that they are really struggling with that.Nobody is doing it to improve performance, it’s for safety reasons.
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“I can barely see the braking zone because I’m bouncing so much. You go through those last two corners [in Baku]you have walls all around you and you’re going 200mph and the car is bouncing up and down on the floor – not a very comfortable position to be in. As a group we need a little rethinking.
“It looks downright dangerous. It just seems useless. You’re skating down the track and when you hit the ground, the tires aren’t as in force with the ground, so it’s only a matter of time before you see something. “
Russell and teammate Lewis Hamilton aren’t the only ones to mention the porpoise concern. Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz raised the issue last month ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix.
He revealed to Autosport that he too “feels” the effects of the suspension and the porpoise.
“I think it will be a great challenge,” Sainz said. “I think the Miami curbs were already aggressive on these cars. There were some bumps in Imola that were pretty hard on the body. More than Monaco, you have to think [about] as drivers and F1 how much should a driver pay for his back and his health in an F1 career with this kind of automotive philosophy? I think we need to open the debate more than anything else.
“I think the regulations are great. They are doing exactly what we need for racing. But do we need to run stiff by the neck and back like we have to run lately, with this mass of machines? For me, it’s more of a philosophical question I’ve posed out there, perhaps for F1 and all to rethink how much the driver actually needs to pay a price in his career with his health, to fight this. ”
Sainz added that he “did my usual back checks, neck strain, and I see that this year I am tighter everywhere. I don’t need expert advice to know that 10 years like this will be tough and you will have to work a lot in mobility, flexibility. “
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