Lewis Hamilton said he woke up in pain on Saturday because this season’s Mercedes car has a tendency to bounce up and down at high speeds. Now seven-time Formula One champion and new teammate George Russell has questioned whether the new 2022 rules force him to compromise his safety.
Moving to “ground effect”, where the floor generates aerodynamic grip, was intended to strengthen the competition between the cars for this season. However, some teams have struggled with cars that bounce up and down at high speeds, a phenomenon known as “porpoizing”, or banging from the bottom out and against the surface of the track.
Mercedes has been one of the hardest hit. Hamilton said his “back was a real mess” after Friday’s practice and credited performance coach Angela Cullen for getting him in position for Saturday’s qualification.
“Thank God Angela gave me physio and acupuncture every night. I woke up this morning with a lot of pain,” Hamilton said.
With ground effect likely to remain here until at least 2026, Hamilton indicated he would support a change in rules to reduce bouncing.
“I think it could be a security thing, for sure,” he said. “There really isn’t much we can do to stop it, and we may not have this car for four years, so I think they need to work on it.”
Any rule change could face backlash from teams that have designed more stable cars. Some believe that Mercedes can mitigate the problem with a change in the setup; Mercedes can sacrifice a bit of speed by not driving its cars so low to the ground to extract more performance.
Red Bull title contender Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc are among drivers who have expressed less concern about the issue.
Hamilton’s teammate Russell complained of back and chest pain earlier in the season, and suggested on Saturday that the bouncing and rattle could have caused a serious accident.
“It’s just brutal, shoving to pieces, and you can barely see where to brake at the end of the straight because we’re bouncing around so much,” Russell said.
“I think it is only a matter of time before we see a major incident. Many of us can barely keep a car in a straight line over these bumps,” he continued. hour (186 mph)… With the technology we have in today’s environment, it seems unnecessary that we’re driving a Formula One car over 200 mph, by the millimeter land, and that’s a recipe for disaster. ,
Mercedes was optimistic of progress after being reduced to “porpoising” at the Spanish Grand Prix last month, but it struggled with a bumpy road surface at the next race in Monaco. The track in Baku is also on public roads but with racing at a much higher pace than in Monaco.