Following the FIA’s intervention to address safety concerns raised about porpoising, an intense debate erupted in the paddock at the weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix. Above all, Toto Wolff vented his anger at the political games of the others.
The disagreements between Mercedes and its rivals are said to have peaked at a team bosses’ meeting in Montreal on Saturday morning.
According to sources, Wolff is said to have expressed disappointment that others were trying to gain competitive and political advantage in an issue that posed a real safety risk to his drivers.
Thus, Wolff believes that the competing teams are instructing their drivers to downplay their concerns in order not to encourage the FIA to act even faster on the matter. When asked about the situation, the Austrian couldn’t hide his irritation at how things were going.
“This is a sport where you try to keep or gain a competitive advantage. But this situation has clearly gone too far,” said the Mercedes team boss.
“All the drivers, at least one in each team, said they felt pain after Baku, that they had trouble keeping the car on the track or that their vision was blurry,” Wolff recalls of the drivers’ complaints.
“Team bosses who try to manipulate what is said to retain the competitive advantage and who try to play political games while the FIA tries to find a quick fix to at least defuse the problem are sneaky. And that’s exactly what I said.”
“I’m not just talking about the Mercedes,” emphasizes the Austrian. “All the cars suffered in one way or another in Baku and they do the same here. The cars are too stiff. The cars bounce or whatever you want to call it.”
Wolff fears long-term effects that cannot even be assessed at the moment. “But that’s always a safety risk, and then coming up with small manipulations in the background or Chinese whispers or instructing the drivers is just pathetic,” he rages.
While his drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell have spoken the loudest about the porpoising issues, Wolff thinks it wrong for competitors to think they are speaking out to make their car faster. Many other drivers are also unhappy with the situation, including Sergio Perez.
“Of course people will question whether my position is sincere or not,” Wolff admits. “That’s why I say it’s not just our problem.”
He recalls the words of Red Bull driver Perez, who expressed concern that at 300 km/h, where the problem is particularly acute, “you can even have reduced visibility when braking or you can no longer drive the car properly can position.”
Numerous drivers from various other teams have also expressed similar problems, including Carlos Sainz (Ferrari), Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren), Esteban Ocon (Alpine), Kevin Magnussen (Haas) and the two Mercedes drivers, Wolff lists.
“It’s not a problem for the team. It’s a design issue of ground effect cars that needs to be addressed.” “And it’s not just about raising the cars, because raising the cars doesn’t solve the inherent stiffness of the aerodynamic properties.”
The health of the drivers must be paramount: “The core of this issue is that they have been complaining about pain when driving these cars since the start of the season. Back pain, blurred vision, we’re talking about micro concussions.”
“In literally every team, I don’t think I’ve heard it except for Alfa Romeo and Williams, but in all other teams drivers have raised this issue. And that’s something that we just have to tackle, whatever the solution, whatever it is technically feasible.”
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The original of this post “Mercedes boss Toto Wolff calls other team bosses “sneaky” and “pathetic”” comes from Motorsport-Total.com.