"That’s Mercedes’ problem, it’s not Formula 1’s problem" - F1 pundit Martin Brundle sides with Red Bull over bouncing concerns

Lewis Hamilton in action during the 2022 F1 Azerbaijan GP. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
Lewis Hamilton in action during the 2022 F1 Azerbaijan GP. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Mercedes' issues with extreme porpoising are their own headaches and not F1's, according to former driver turned television pundit Martin Brundle.

Brundle's comments come after what Mercedes described as a back-breaking ordeal for Lewis Hamilton on the streets of Baku. The seven-time world champion was heard complaining on the radio about having a stiff back during the race. After the checkered flag fell, Hamilton's discomfort was visible for the rest of the world to see as he struggled to emerge from the cockpit of his W13.

Mercedes feels porpoising, the extreme bouncing caused by the return of 'ground effect' to the sport, is the primary cause for this. However, the Silver Arrows' lower ride height to extract maximum performance out of their car could be to blame for Lewis Hamilton's woes.

While the 37-year-old driver has confirmed that he will race in Montreal at the 2022 F1 Canadian GP this weekend, the conversation around porpoising persists, with the German team's boss Toto Wolff and driver George Russell also weighing in on the issue.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner feels it is an exaggeration on Wolff's part in the hopes of getting the FIA to change the regulations. When asked about it after the race in Baku, the 48-year-old team principal said:

“If it was a genuine safety concern across the whole grid then it’s something that should be looked at. But if it’s only affecting isolated people or teams, that’s something the team should potentially deal with.”

Martin Brundle, who has 158 race starts under his belt, is in Horner's corner. In an interview with Sky Sports during this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans, he said:

“I think the team [Mercedes] are playing this quite hard in that they want some changes made, the drivers want some changes made, because the Mercedes is particularly bad. The teams that have got it sorted out are clearly saying that’s Mercedes’ problem, it’s not Formula 1’s problem.”

The 63-year-old went on to add:

“Of course, the team can fix it by raising the car but then they lose a huge amount of performance. They have had to sacrifice comfort for performance and what’s surprising really is Mercedes can’t seem to get a handle on what actually looks like quite an excellent car if they could just unlock it. I think Christian [Horner] is saying more or less exactly the same as what I’m saying, it’s a problem for the teams to sort out.”

Martin Brundle not underplaying Mercedes drivers' porpoising concerns

Despite being firmly in Red Bull team principal Christian Horner's corner with regards to porpoising being a team-specific issue that has hit the Silver Arrows hardest, Brundle is not downlplaying the discomfort Lewis Hamilton and George Russell have alluded to.

In the aforementioned interview with Sky Sports F1, Martin Brundle said:

“I’m not underplaying what George Russell and Lewis Hamilton are going through because it does look particularly painful and the Ferrari drivers, just at their crucial braking points, that just looks plain tricky to me – I don’t know how they go into the corners, frankly.”

Over the Spanish GP weekend, it appeared as though Mercedes had gotten its porpoising issues under control, however, the team struggled massively in Monaco and Baku. Given the characteristics of Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, the German team and its drivers could be in for more pain at this weekend's Canadian GP unless it finds a quick fix before then.

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Edited by Anmol Gandhi
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