Binotto ‘surprised’ by Merc’s second stay, questions porpoising TD

Michelle Foster
Carlos Sainz's Ferrari on the grid surrounded by mechanics waiting for the start of the race. Montreal June 2022

Carlos Sainz's Ferrari on the grid surrounded by mechanics waiting for the start of the race. Montreal June 2022

Ferrari believe the FIA’s new technical directive issued on the eve of the Canadian Grand Prix is “not applicable”, simply because TDs are to clarify the rules, not to change them.

The FIA announced on Thursday a new TD intended to protect the drivers against the impact of porpoising.

Under it they will set out an “acceptable level of vertical oscillations”, although motorsport’s governing body will acknowledge that the “exact mathematical formula for this metric is still being analysed”.

According to reports, any team that exceeds that number will have to raise the car’s ride height by 10mm.

While the FIA used the TD to gather data at the Canadian Grand Prix, that’s all it was with the TD set to be in play at the British Grand Prix.

Ferrari don’t believe that the FIA can do that.

“For us, that TD’s not applicable,” team boss Mattia Binotto told The Race.

“And it’s something we mentioned to the FIA.

“A TD is there to clarify regulations, or to address policing. It is not there to change the regulations. That’s [a matter of] governance.”

Motorsport’s governing body also announced that the teams can run not one but two floor stays in Montreal, Mercedes the only team to do so in Friday’s practice.

They did, however, remove it that same day with the team saying it didn’t help stabilise their floor. Other reports say it was removed under the threat of protest from Mercedes’ rivals.

Binotto added: “They [the instructions in the technical directive] have been issued by mistake.

“Part of it, the metric, has not been applied. And the extra brackets have been not fitted in any car for the weekend.

“So, a big noise for nothing.”

As for Mercedes having the second stay in place in practice, that in itself raised eyebrows in the paddock.

Auto Motor und Sport reported that Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren had all openly questioned how Mercedes were able to react so quickly to the FIA’s announcement, putting the second stay on the car less than 24 hours later.

A Mercedes team member responded to that, saying: “We had people who flew late to Montreal and took the material with them. Because of our problems with the ground, we were prepared for anything in terms of the stays.”

Binotto remains sceptical but says he can only trust what Toto Wolff and his team say.

“Toto says they did it overnight,” he said. “What I can say is that Ferrari would not be capable of doing it.

“No doubt I’m surprised that a team is so strong in doing that overnight.

“I can maybe only trust what he’s saying.”