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Hill thinks 'sidepod-less' design could be cause of Mercedes problems

Mercedes struggled with porpoising throughout the Bahrain pre-season test, while many of their rivals appear to have moved past the issue.

Damon Hill believes that Mercedes are fighting porpoising more severely than many of their rivals due to a by-product of their 'sidepod-less' car design. Mercedes took to the track with radically slimmed-down sidepods on their W13 car during Bahrain testing, catching the eyes of all in the F1 paddock, including their main rivals. However, the Mercedes could be seen porpoising badly down the straights, with Lewis Hamilton and George Russell bouncing in their seats. Red Bull and Ferrari do not appear to be struggling with the problem as much , with Hill, F1's 1996 World Champion, pointing to Mercedes' new 'sidepod-less' design as a possible reason why.

Hill: Mercedes are having trouble keeping control of the floor

"There's so much suck coming from under the car now that I think they're having trouble keeping control of the floor," said Hill, speaking to the F1 Nation podcast. "That's why they put those floor-stays, or why they petitioned to allow for floor-stays to go in. "If you look at the Mercedes, there's a vast area [of the floor], because they've got such slim sidepods. There is not much there to hold the floor up! "It could be that they're getting more of this flex, which is creating a problem to control the aerodynamics of the back of the car. "It could be that once they get that fixed, then they will be able to control the downforce."

Hill predicts Mercedes will find a fix for their pre-season issues

On Monday, Lewis Hamilton revealed that Mercedes had scheduled two important meetings as they look to solve their problems in time for Bahrain. Hill is confident that the issue of porpoising can be fixed with relative ease, given how quickly teams like Red Bull were able to get on top of the problem. "We know Mercedes also have some issues, but the things can be fixed," he continued. "It looks like Red Bull have fixed it [porpoising] and they've got a nice, smooth-running car, so some others will find out how to do that and then the form can change completely on its head. "We know that McLaren have got some issues, which they didn't have in Barcelona – but they're looking competitive."

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