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Mercedes concede porpoising demons to blame for F1 struggles

Did the Silver Arrows go too cautious with its development?

Hamilton Belgium
To news overview © RN365/Michael Potts

Mercedes Technical Director James Allison has conceded a "cautious" development path used to avoid the porpoising dramas of last season left the team on the back foot this term.

The Silver Arrows struggled with aerodynamic bouncing last season, with the radically designed W13 proved difficult to place into an optimal set-up window.

Changes were made to the technical regulations this season to try and combat the bouncing across the grid, given the safety implication excessive oscillations can have for drivers.

But Mercedes was deadset on avoiding a repeat of the issue into the new campaign, electing to choose a cautious development path.

The Brackley-based outfit initially struggled this term but, following a major upgrade package at the Monaco Grand Prix, has rebounded to consolidate second in the Constructors' standings ahead of the final 10 races of the year.

Season wrecker

"Although we made great strides last year, 2023 presented all the teams with a rule change that offered some protection against bouncing," explained Allison.

"Over the winter we faced a choice: go aggressive and trade the bouncing protection in the rule change for performance, or take a more cautious route and steer clear of the sort of porpoising that wrecked our season last year.

"We chose the cautious path, knowing that it would be less painful to correct if we were wrong.

"The story of our year so far has been mostly about finding out that we had been too cautious and making the changes to correct that."

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