Mercedes expect to close the gap on Red Bull and Ferrari at Spa, said to be “convinced” that the two leading teams will “lose two/three tenths” due to the new floor technical directive.
The buzz word of this year’s championship, Mercedes have had extreme porpoising, Ferrari have a fair amount too, but Red Bull have almost none.
As such it has been Mercedes who have led the charge, and the complaints, when it comes to bouncing and urging the FIA to get involved while Red Bull have pleaded with them not to.
Motorsport’s governing body is leaning on Mercedes’ side of the argument, saying it is a safety issue.
But while setting up the guidelines for Technical Directive TD039, the FIA discovered that some teams were using a grey area in the regulations to allow an area around planks and skid blocks to flex more than the 2mm laid out in the rules.
That grey area will, from the Belgian Grand Prix onwards, no longer be in play with the FIA clearly stipulating the mounting method that the teams have to use for the underfloor plank and the skid plates.
According to Auto Motor und Sport’s Michael Schmidt, Mercedes are all smiles as they are “convinced that Ferrari/Red Bull would lose two/three tenths due to the TD in Spa”.
He, however, doubts it will be that big if there is any loss at all.
“I am not sure about that,” he said, “for Ferrari and Red Bull are a bit too relaxed about the TD in Spa.”
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner says speculation that Red Bull was one of the teams working in the grey is “total rubbish”.
Pressed as to whether Red Bull, as Toto Wolff believes, should be concerned, Horner replied: “No, zero.
“I mean, I don’t know. Maybe he’s referring to… I don’t know, cars that are around him at the moment. I’ve no idea but absolutely no issues or concerns on our floor.”
As for Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto, he believes the TD is “not applicable”.
Schmidt says it is the FIA’s plans to change the floor rules ahead of the 2023 championship that has Red Bull and Ferrari worried.
“Ferrari and Red Bull are more concerned about the 2023 floor changes,” he said.
Under those proposed rules there’d be a 25mm raising of the floor edges, a raising of the underfloor diffuser throat, more stringent lateral floor deflection tests and the use of a more accurate sensor to measure bouncing.