Mercedes rival suspicious of Lewis Hamilton’s porpoising return fears

Michelle Foster
Lewis Hamilton takes a moment in the Mercedes garage at the Belgian Grand Prix. Spa, July 2023.

Lewis Hamilton takes a moment in the Mercedes garage at the Belgian Grand Prix. Spa, July 2023.

Lewis Hamilton’s fears that porpoising has returned to the grid have been downplayed by Alpine data engineer Ramon Drost, who reckons the Briton’s comments must be “taken with a grain of salt.”

Finishing fourth at the Belgian Grand Prix, a race in which he was some 50 seconds down on race winner Max Verstappen, Hamilton gave voice to Mercedes’ biggest fears when he made mention of porpoising.

A problem that blighted their 2022 season but one that Mercedes seem to have under control this year, Hamilton said he feared it was back when he bounced around the Spa-Francorchamps circuit.

Mercedes team-mates ‘praying’ porpoising’ isn’t here to stay

“We had big bouncing this weekend, so we’re back to the bouncing like we had last year,” he told Sky F1.

Pressed further about the return of the bouncing to his W14, Hamilton said: “To me, it is a concern, but we’ll work through the data.

“I think we’ll work through the data this week, and then try and figure out what we do for the next race. I know what I want, I’m praying for it and just waiting for the day we get it.”

His team-mate George Russell had similar issues, reporting a “huge amount of bouncing” with the Briton saying it wasn’t just Mercedes who suffered.

He added: “Obviously a bit of a shame to see that as a sport at the pinnacle of motorsport, the majority of teams are still struggling with bouncing. I hope something can be solved in that regard in the future.”

Drost though, is taking their complaints with a “grain of salt”. recommends

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‘I think that porpoising is under control with most teams’

According to the Alpine data analyst, the bouncing that Mercedes, and potentially other teams experienced at Spa, is because of the bumpy circuit, and not the cars.

“The porpoising is not completely back,” the Frenchman told

“That was a hot topic, but if we look at the other years… They’re not street cars, of course, so those cars always bounce a bit. It’s not a nice, comfortable car to drive and I think we have to take it with a grain of salt, it’s not comfortable to drive a car like that.

“Of course, maybe he feels something different, that there was a little more bottoming from Eau Rouge or whatever, that he’s like, ‘Wow, that’s a slightly different effect that I’m not used to [from] the last few races’. That he attaches his comment to that.

“But I think that porpoising is under control with most teams. It is also measured by extra sensors that they have added and applied to the car.”

Ahead of this year’s championship, the FIA announced new regulations to curb porpoising that included raising the floor edges and diffuser throat height while also putting additional sensors on the cars to monitor it. Any team exceeding the FIA’s oscillation metrics then has to raise the car’s ride height.

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