Mattia Binotto and Christian Horner strange allies, Toto Wolff across the ring. For once, the duel on the track has nothing to do with it: Ferrari is alongside Red Bull and against Mercedes for the (highly contested) directive anti-porpoising introduced by Fia before the Canadian GP last week. Seeing Lewis Hamilton in pain in the parc parc in Baku, struggling to get out of his Mercedes was obviously too much. The very long Azerbaijani straight (over two km) caused the known ‘hopping on the straight’ of his car, with consequent involvement of the back: painful at the end of the race and treated by the British physiotherapist, Angela Cullen, with acupuncture and massages. So much so that the number 44 made a great recovery before Montréal where he returned to the podium as it did not happen from Bahrain.
Ferrari and Red Bull decided: “The directive favors Mercedes”
But for the Federation what happened to Hamilton was too much and they decided to act by triggering yet another controversy in a long series (the memory of Abu Dhabi last December with the consequent expulsion of the racing director Michael Masi is still alive). “So you favor a team, but you go against others,” Wolff was told at the team meeting team principal last Saturday in Canada where the F1 CEO was also present, Stefano Domenicali. According to Auto Motor und Sport the rags flew, with Wolff very hard against the Binotto-Horner couple. The last two attacked the Austrian saying that “a directive is made to clarify the existing rules, not to change them”, and that in order to pass a law “a proposal must be made to the FIA World Council”.
A meeting scheduled just before Silverstone
A second controversy against Mercedes arose from the double tie rod added on the sides of the car to stabilize the bottom. Solution not allowed by the regulation, but granted by the FIA technical director, Nik Tombazis, as a viable option in the new technical directive. So much so that the Stuttgart house took to the track in the Canadian free practice with the double tie and then took it off on Saturday. For the definitive approval of the FIA directive, as already mentioned, the ok of the World Council is needed, with a meeting scheduled for the end of the month a few hours before the start of the Silverstone GP (Sunday 3 July). Before that, however, another meeting will be held between the team principal and the Federation to find a final agreement. Some of them, like Horner, have lashed out at Wolff claiming that the porpoising “It is only the Mercedes that runs with too rigid structures. And if the car is so dangerous then it shouldn’t be lined up at the start ”. The Mercedes director, on the contrary, claimed that “all the drivers, at least one per team, complained of pain after Baku and that the vibrations altered the view of the track at high speeds”. To this he added that “raising the fund does not solve problems for a consequent risk of safety and health of the drivers. Bringing the discussion to a political level is ‘pitiful’ “.
What the FIA directive tells us
The much-contested anti-jerk FIA directive provides, as an initial step, the measurement of vertical accelerations and the frequency of fluctuations on single-seaters. In addition to the meeting with the team principals, the FIA has also planned one with the engineers of the teams who are however opposed to the hypothesis of raising the cars. According to some, it would not be enough to solve the problem because it would create an aerodynamic stall, that is, the interruption of the flow of air under the bottom. The approach, for the engineers, would therefore be not to raise the cars, but to analyze in more depth the functioning of the ground effect, reported in F1 this year after the glories of the 70s and early 80s.