Mercedes F1 development direction right despite return of bouncing

The German manufacturer introduced a decent upgrade for its W14 at Spa-Francorchamps last weekend, which included new sidepods and an updated floor.

However, the arrival of that coincided with Mercedes battling the return of bouncing on the straights, which proved to be its biggest headache throughout 2022.

Wolff says the team needs to find answers quickly as to why the phenomenon it felt it had got on top of made a return, as he opened up on just much it had overshadowed its weekend.

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“The main limiting factor was the bouncing – the car was just bouncing literally on every straight,” explained Wolff.

“Even Blanchimont was a corner where Lewis had to lift, and it is an easy flat normally. So, you’re bouncing on the straight, you overheat the tyres under braking, and that is a vicious circle.

“It was the main limiting factor this weekend. It’s frustrating to check out for the holidays like this but [the next few days] we’ve got to understand more based on the data.”

Reflecting on why the bouncing had returned, Wolff suspects that the upgrades that arrived for Belgium may have been a factor – but he still remains convinced the team has made the right call with its current development focus.

“We’ve got to analyse it,” he said. “There is so much hard work that’s been going on for the upgrade. The aero guys, and the operations to deliver that upgrade, you’ve got to take your hat off to them.

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes-AMG

Photo by: Michael Potts / Motorsport Images

“I think the floor could have been the reason why we’ve been bouncing, but we’re going to see it in the data.

“And maybe there’s something that we need to find, because I still believe the direction that we’re going now is the right one.”

While Mercedes was not the only team to suffer bouncing at Spa, driver George Russell thinks it is disappointing that the problem has still not gone away.

“We suffered with a huge amount of bouncing,” he said.

“A number of teams did, maybe not as severe as we did, but still obviously it is a bit of a shame to see that, as a sport at the pinnacle [of motorsport], the majority of teams are still struggling with bouncing.

“I hope something can be solved in that regard in the future.”

Additional reporting by Adam Cooper Mercedes F1 development direction right despite return of bouncing

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