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Mercedes

Could Mercedes' porpoising return as team face fresh issue?

Mercedes ran without severe porpoising at the Spanish Grand Prix for the first time this season as Lewis Hamilton demonstrated a pace that Toto Wolff believes could have won him the race.

Hamilton Spain
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To news overview © XPB

Mercedes head into the Monaco Grand Prix weekend hopeful that the porpoising problems that plagued the first five races of their season are now a thing of the past.

George Russell joined the fight at the front during the Spanish Grand Prix while Lewis Hamilton, who suffered an early-race puncture, put in some of the fastest laps of the race.

They did so while sporting successful performance upgrades geared towards tackling porpoising and moving the team closer to the front.

However, Mercedes could now find themselves battling a new demon after both Hamilton and Russell were left fighting a retirement risk during the final laps in Barcelona.

Is porpoising a thing of the past for Mercedes and the W13?

Providing an update on the team's hopes of having now cured their porpoising problems for good, Mercedes' Chief Strategist James Vowles admitted that his colleagues must brace themselves for the issue to return at future races.

According to data shared by F1TV, Mercedes were the best at coping with porpoising during the Spanish GP, suggesting that their upgrades were a success. But the problem could still return, Vowles admits.

“We've had one race out of six where the car has been well behaved. It was a car that really was a proper racing car for once," he said. "We could set it up, we could tune it, we could play around with the settings and it would respond in a way that was predictable and the same couldn’t be said for the car that we had for the first five races of the season.

"However, we have to temper our expectations. It's one track and a track that has suited our car for many years prior to this one. There is a lot for us to understand and learn. I think it would be wrong to say that the porpoising issue has disappeared. I think you still see it on our competitors and I am sure there will be elements of it coming back again as we build on our understanding and the foundations that we laid down in Barcelona.

"What I can say is we made a definitive step, a step in our understanding and the deployment of what we put on track. And we can build on that, and the same could not be said about the first five races with the car that we had there."

Are Mercedes now facing recurring heating issues?

However, fresh problems have emerged at Mercedes since bolting on those new upgrades. The team spent the final laps of the Spanish GP struggling to cool their car with both Russell and Hamilton forced to slow considerably to fend off a retirement risk. That saw Hamilton passed by Carlos Sainz.

The problem was brought about by the extreme heat at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya with the team hopeful that it will be looked back upon as a one-off during a weekend of intense air temperatures.

“We were very, very hot on our power unit side," Vowles has admitted. "To give some context, the ambient temperature was up to 37 degrees (Celsius) in the race, it started around about 36 and actually went up later in the afternoon. That is incredibly warm, that's an outlier relative to nearly every circuit on the calendar.

"The drivers had to respond and the way you do this is by looking after the power unit, making sure your nose is in clear air, making sure you are doing lots of lift and coast where effectively you are lifting off the throttle before applying the brakes at the end of the long straights. And they did a really good job to get those cars home to the finish.

"Remember that, for them, they are fighting for every single millisecond and point but on top of that, having to deal with alarms coming up on the dash telling them they are too warm and an amount of lift and coast that was varying lap by lap."

Also interesting:

F1 Podcast: Did off-track matters ruin the spectacle at the Spanish GP?

RacingNews365.com F1 journalists Dieter Rencken and Michael Butterworth discuss the Spanish Grand Prix, where Max Verstappen won a thrilling race after Charles Leclerc retired. But was the on-track action soured by a poor fan experience at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya?

F1 2022 Monaco Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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