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Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton issues worrying assessment of Mercedes' car for Saudi

Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes' current issues aren't related to circuit characteristics, and that the same porpoising problem will occur in Saudi Arabia.

Hamilton Bahrain
Article
To news overview © Pirelli

Lewis Hamilton believes Mercedes will still have to factor in their porpoising problems when Formula 1 arrives in Saudi Arabia this weekend.

The Mercedes W13 has struggled with the phenomenon, which is related to how the floor interacts with airflow under the new ground-effect aerodynamic philosophy, with the car visibly bouncing its way down the straights in Bahrain.

The issue seemed far less extreme over the course of the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend, but Hamilton said porpoising is still likely to occur at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit as it is fundamental to the car, rather than being triggered by circuit characteristics.

"It's definitely not track-specific, because we still had the problem in Barcelona," he told media, including RacingNews365.com, in Bahrain.

"It's not as bumpy as here, but we still had the problem there. [Bahrain] is a bumpy track and we've had these longer straights.

"We anticipate in the next race - they have much longer straights there - we will have the same issue unless we fix it. And there's a huge amount of people in the background that are working, incredibly intelligent[ly], around the clock, trying to come up with the right solutions.

"We don't often jump the gun – everything's thoroughly gone through before we make decisions."

Mercedes porpoising causing a lack of downforce

With porpoising the main issue hampering Mercedes, Hamilton went on to explain how the downforce is being affected negatively as the car bounces down the straights.

"It's a huge issue. I've never experienced it with a Formula 1 car before," he added.

"The cars are not made to be jumping up and down like that, so you're gaining downforce, losing downforce, gaining downforce, losing downforce, every time you're going up and down.

"We've made it a little bit smoother, so the past two weeks when we were riding, it was not comfortable for your lower back and your neck, but [it] has been a lot better, so hopefully it will continue to get better."

Asked what particular areas he'd like to see addressed on the car once the porpoising is under control, Hamilton said the main deficiency is currently the porpoising affecting the downforce rather than any other design issue.

"Ultimately, it's just downforce; because of this porpoising, we don't have the downforce that we need," he commented.

"That's why we can't get close to the other guys. They've got their car in a much better position, and they're extracting - maybe not all the downforce - but more than we are. Therefore, they're able to extract more lap time."

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F1 2022 Saudi Arabia Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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