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F1: Mercedes boss Toto Wolff calls rivals ‘pitiful’ over porpoising row

The feud between Formula 1 team principals is heating up just as the battle between their drivers is also intensifying on track. Now, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff is hitting out against his counterparts for what he deems to be “pitiful” and “disingenuous” behaviour in connection to the current row over the “porpoising” issue.

The FIA has decided to change regulations for the upcoming Canadian Grand Prix in order to help ensure drivers’ safety after numerous complaints over the effects of porpoising and too much bouncing in the cars this season. The team principals had a meeting on Saturday, and according to the BBC, there was some kind of “bust up” between Wolff and Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner and Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto.

Wolff even went as far as to say that there are “manipulations in the background.”

Red Bull is currently leading both championships, with Ferrari right up there with them when it comes to speed. The two teams have exchanged the lead in 2022, making it clear that they have been able to find a way squeeze out performance while minimising the porpoising.

Meanwhile, Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell have both been vocal about their struggles. In Azerbaijan last week, Hamilton complained of back pain and struggled to get out of his car. Russell also said that drivers get blurred vision from too much bouncing and it was a disaster waiting to happen.

Horner previously said that forcing a regulation change will only penalise the teams that have already been able to find a solution to the issue, but Wolff disagrees.

“This is a sport where you’re trying to keep a competitive advantage or gain it but this situation has gone too far,” Wolff said, pointing out that many drivers, not just from Mercedes, are also complaining about the issue.

“Team principals trying to manipulate what is being said in order to keep their competitive advantage and trying to play political games when the FIA tries to come up with a quick solution to at least put the cars in a better position is disingenuous and that’s what I said,” Wolff added.

He sees the bouncing as a “joint” problem in F1, and one that should rightly be addressed by the FIA.

“We will have long-term effects that we can’t even judge and at any time this is a safety risk. Then, coming up with little manipulations in the background or Chinese whispers or briefing a driver is just pitiful.”

Lewis Hamilton confirmed that he suffered a lot during and after the race in Baku, but is back in the car for the Canadian Grand Prix after numerous sessions with his physio. It remains to be seen how the new regulations will affect the race on Sunday, and if this feud will continue to rage off the track.

Aston Martin team principal Mike Krack was not happy about the new directive as well, saying that the regulations are complex and the teams did not have enough time to prepare ahead of the race weekend.

It remains to be seen how the situation will pan out after the Grand Prix is concluded on Sunday.

Toto Wolff
ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/POOL via AFP
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