Brundle sides with Horner over Mercedes porpoising

Jon Wilde

Martin Brundle agrees with Christian Horner that resolving the porpoising of F1 cars is a matter for individual teams rather than the FIA.

Porpoising, or bouncing, has been a feature of the first season with the sport’s new regulations, going all the way back to unofficial testing in Barcelona but now seemingly more prevalent than ever.

The 2.2km-long straight at the Baku City Circuit for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix exacerbated the issue for certain teams and drivers, most notably Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton who was racked by pains in his back throughout the weekend but still managed to finish a creditable fourth.

Horner, whose Red Bull team have been less affected by porpoising than many of their rivals, suspects some constructors are encouraging their drivers to complain vociferously about the physical effects in order to exert pressure on the FIA to open up a workaround in the rules on safety grounds.

But there are ways the teams themselves could make life more comfortable for their racers, albeit at the expense of car performance.

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

Brundle, who was at Le Mans supporting his son Alex in the 24-Hour race rather than in Baku, takes a similar stance.

Martin Brundle taking part in Sky Sports F1's coverage. Abu Dhabi 2021

“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,” Brundle told Sky Sports News.

“The teams that have got it sorted out are clearly saying that’s Mercedes’ problem, it’s not Formula 1’s problem.

“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 is saying more or less exactly the same as what I’m saying, it’s a problem for the teams to sort out.

“It needs managing, but to ask the other teams to change the regulations to help Mercedes is a bit like asking a turkey to vote for Christmas.

“But 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.”

 

Hamilton in agony but Mercedes pick up pieces

George Russell got on the podium again for Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton finished P4, albeit in a lot of pain.