Mercedes is uncertain their porpoising issue has been solved

Mercedes is uncertain their porpoising issue has been solved

Despite a major improvement at last weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, Mercedes says the porpoising issues they’ve had in past races may not be completely fixed.

Porpoising was a major issue for Mercedes in the early stages of the season. The problem was so severe that George Russell warned at Imola that the situation could not be sustained.

During Spanish Grand Prix Friday’s practice sessions, the team appeared to have greatly reduced the bouncing they had encountered in Miami, only for it to return the next day. Their Barcelona upgrading package, on the other hand, appeared to provide a more permanent solution, resulting in their most competitive performance of the season thus far.

However, James Vowles who is Mercedes motorsport strategy director, cautioned that it might not be a perfect answer to the problem.

“We’ve had one race out of six where the car has been well-behaved,” he explained in a video released by the team.

“It was a car that, really, was a proper racing car for once.”

“We could set it up, we could tune it, we could play around with the settings and it would respond in a way that was predictable and the same couldn’t be said for the car that we had for the first five races of the season.”

“However, we have to temper our expectations,” he added. “It’s one track and a track that has suited our car for many years prior to this one.”

“There is a lot for us to understand and learn. I think it would be wrong to say that the porpoising issue has disappeared.”

Vowles mentioned other teams where the issue had come and gone to varying degrees.

“You still see it on our competitors and I am sure there will be elements of it coming back again as we build on our understanding and the foundations that we laid down in Barcelona,” he said.

“What I can say is we made a definitive step, a step in our understanding and the deployment of what we put on track and we can build on that, and the same could not be said about the first five races, with the car that we had there.”

“The two upcoming races on street tracks will test how successfully Mercedes have solved their problems. We’ve got difficult tracks coming up, we’ve got Monaco and Baku which will throw up their own challenges and surprises.”

“The difference now, though, is we have a car that is within touching distance of the front and a car that we can fight for a championship with.”

Due to power unit issues, Mercedes drivers George Russell and Lewis Hamilton were forced to slow down in the final laps of Sunday’s race. The reason being last weekend’s extreme temperatures caused major overheating issues, according to Vowles.

“We were very, very hot on our power unit side. To give some context, the ambient temperature was up to 37 degrees (Celsius) in the race, started round about 36 and actually went up later in the afternoon,” he explained. “That is incredibly warm, that’s an outlier relative to nearly every circuit on the calendar.”

“The drivers had to respond and the way you do this is by looking after the power unit, making sure your nose is in clear air, making sure you are doing lots of lift and coast… did a really good job to get those cars home to the finish under the circumstances.”

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