Following the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, the FIA had brought out a new technical directive that sought to decrease the amount of ‘vertical oscillations’ a driver can go through. While most drivers were certainly pleased that actions were being undertaken in their interest, there were also some concerns.
Red Bull and Ferrari, the current frontrunners, were certainly not pleased with the directive. Christian Horner and Helmut Marko had even implied that the FIA had favored Mercedes with it, while Mattia Binotto was also not happy, saying “You cannot change the regulations through a TD.“
Charles Leclerc felt all of Ferrari’s good work in controlling the effect porpoising had on their speed was ‘in the bin’, and Max Verstappen was not happy with George Russell and Lewis Hamilton involving other drivers in the porpoising ‘campaign’ and said: “They should just focus on themselves and say what they think. So just speak for themselves instead of involving other people in it.”
From this it would seem that Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen did not have any issues with the ‘porpoising’ and ‘bouncing’ but Toto Wolff insists that it is otherwise and that the two are just secretive with their complaints.
Toto Wolff: “The team bosses influence their drivers so that they don’t have to admit in public that bouncing is a health problem.”
Talking to Austian newspaper OE24, Toto Wolff said: “You cannot try to influence a Formula 1 driver not to say anything publicly when there is a health risk. The only ones who don’t say anything about it are Leclerc and Verstappen, but they say it behind closed doors.”
As for his alleged ‘outburst’ at the team manager meeting in Montreal, Wolff said:
“I drove up there for two reasons. Firstly, we were accused of tampering with the FIA because my lawyer is now their Secretary of Sports. She is a lawyer with total integrity.”
He added: “Secondly, the team bosses influence their drivers so that they don’t have to admit in public that bouncing is a health problem. I spoke to each individual and said: At least one driver in all of you has said publicly that he either has pain or a headache or that he has poor vision and is impaired when driving. And you all act like it’s nothing. This is irresponsible.”
Wolff also said that they will be bringing upgrades to Silverstone, but did not disclose the nature of those upgrades, and that in any case, the track suits their car. Lewis Hamilton has earlier said that he wants to be competing for the win in Silverstone, and it remains to be seen if he can win the Grand Prix for a record-extending ninth time.