Mercedes ‘bouncing’ is back for third consecutive season

Sat, 9 March 2024, 07:00

Mar.9 (GMM) For the third consecutive season, Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes has still failed to eliminate the “bouncing” of its Formula 1 cars amid the new ground-effect era.

The team began the season with high hopes thanks to a new, more Red Bull-like car concept – despite losing Hamilton to Ferrari for 2025.

The seven time world champion qualified P8 in Saudi Arabia, declaring that “bouncing” – the aerodynamic phenomenon also known as ‘porpoising’ – is back.

“It’s a huge challenge,” Hamilton told the Spanish broadcaster DAZN. “We’ve tried all the tools we have. We can’t get rid of it.

“We’ve changed everything, as we did in 2023,” he explained. “It’s frustrating to think that it’s continuing and we’re still fighting with it, because I think we have a good package.”

Team technical director James Allison also admitted at Jeddah that Mercedes is yet to solve the engine overheating issue that arose a week ago in Bahrain.

Hamilton continued: “We have a good car apart from the bouncing.”

Team boss Toto Wolff told Sky Italia that George Russell is less affected in the sister car.

“Lewis tried increasingly the downforce to see what it would do and the bouncing increased a bit. And when you don’t have confidence in high-speed corners, you lack speed.

“This is our weak point. In turns 6, 7 and 8, we simply don’t have enough speed.”

Hamilton, 39, confirmed: “When I see Max (Verstappen) driving through these corners, his (Red Bull) car is stable. We have to do that too.

“We’ve had this for three years now.”

The bright spot for Hamilton is that he is leaving Mercedes at the end of the year to join Ferrari – where Carlos Sainz’s rookie stand-in Oliver Bearman, 18, qualified within a tenth of Hamilton’s pace in Q2.

“To do that without F1 experience on a track like this and without laps in the car is really impressive,” said Hamilton.

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