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George Russell

Why Russell says Mercedes aren't pushing for FIA's porpoising rule change

Concerns over the levels of porpoising on F1's 2022 cars have led the FIA to issue a directive limiting the permitted level of bouncing. But while some claim that Mercedes' vocal opposition to porpoising may have influenced the FIA's decision, George Russell says the Silver Arrows are not keen on a mid-season rule change.

Russell Baku
To news overview © XPB

George Russell has cast doubt on claims that Mercedes were pushing for the FIA's announcement that they will introduce measures to combat porpoising.

On Thursday afternoon, the FIA confirmed that they had decided, in the interests of safety, to intervene with adjustments that they say should reduce or eliminate porpoising.

Mercedes have suffered particularly badly with porpoising all season long, and Lewis Hamilton appeared to be in such discomfort after last week's Azerbaijan Grand Prix that he was struggling to get out of his W13, with team boss Toto Wolff claiming a rule change was necessary on health and safety grounds.

With Red Bull managing porpoising more effectively than Mercedes, Max Verstappen expressed his disappointment at the new directive, and implied that Mercedes' vocal frustrations had influenced the FIA's decision to change the rules.

Russell: Change could work either way

However, a rule limiting the permitted level of porpoising may negatively affect Mercedes, as the team will likely have to raise the W13's ride height to reduce the bouncing, in turn affecting the car's performance, and Russell said the Silver Arrows would rather not see the introduction of a new regulation.

"I think this is something that everybody thinks Mercedes is sort of pushing for, but from a pure performance side of things, we don't really want change because if there's change, you never know if it's going in your favour or against you," Russell told Sky Sports.

"It doesn't matter what boat you're in, you're either porpoising and you're hitting the ground, or you have no porpoising so you're running the car really close to the ground and you're bottoming, so either way you look at it, it's not great.

Russell hails safety concerns

Russell did add, however, that from the point of view of the drivers' health and safety, he was glad to see the FIA taking action on porpoising.

"I think it's promising to see that they've taken action on this straight away and it's not taken them weeks and months and political decisions to change something like this," said Russell.

"I think it's something that we as drivers have spoken about globally, that we want change moving forward because what we went through last weekend [at Baku] just wasn't sustainable.

"When it comes to safety, things need to be resolved as soon as possible, so I'm not surprised to see it come in so quickly, but I think it's good for everyone."

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