Floor of some teams too flexible, Mercedes reacts ‘shocked’

Another day, another installment in the porpoising soap opera: After the FIA ​​has already introduced a controversial guideline to limit bouncing soon, the motorsport federation is now also saying that some teams have too flexible a floor. “Shocking”, responds Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, who of course knows which teams are allegedly involved: Red Bull and Ferrari.

The fact that the FIA ​​wants to limit the bouncing is already controversial enough. Now, however, another hot topic arises. The FIA ​​has hinted that some teams have too flexible a floor, and is therefore going to introduce stricter checks. In short: a plank under the car may, with a small tolerance, not ‘flex’ more than 2 millimeters. The construction and fixing of the plank must also match this, in the sense that they keep the plank as rigid as possible (or at least within 2mm).

However, the FIA ​​has now determined that some teams are taking this for a spin. And got away with it because the plank ‘flex’ was initially only measured at the beginning of it. Certain teams, however, would have a floor that flexes too much further back from about halfway up the car, helping to direct airflow and adding extra downforce. To counter this, the FIA ​​is introducing stricter rules and measurement methods from the French Grand Prix

Also read: FIA will intervene for safety reasons to reduce porpoising

Wolff: ‘Shocking’

In a reaction to this announcement by the FIA, Mercedes boss Wolff (played or not) reacted with shock. “It was a big surprise for us to hear this because the rules and the intent of the rules were pretty clear,” Wolff is quoted as saying by The-Race and motorsport† According to Wolff, there is therefore ‘no reason’ why a floor should bend more than allowed. “That’s why it’s a surprise, or rather, a shock,” he responds.

According to Wolff, most teams had “no idea” this was happening, but the FIA’s action points to “some teams” may have been a little too flexible – both in their interpretation of the rules and in deflecting their rules. floor.

You can guess which teams he means by ‘some’. But if you don’t feel like that: he refers to Ferrari and Red Bull. The two top teams are said to be doing this trick, with Ferrari rumored to have found ‘something’ for the floor before the start of the season. Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has meanwhile faced The-Race emphasizes that, in his opinion, the RB18 complies with all rules – and also all new rules.

Floor soap has been going on for several seasons

The floor and bottom of the cars are of course a much-discussed topic this year by the porposing, the bounce that some teams, with Mercedes leading the way, suffer from. Although the Ferrari also bounces up and down a lot, but it slows down that team less. The new directive to porposing will also take effect with effect from the French Grand Prix.

What makes the floor soap extra loaded is that a change to the floor last year had a lot of impact on the cars and Mercedes in particular was hindered by this. Due to the corona crisis, Formula 1 decided not to make major changes to the cars in 2021, as a result of which teams stuck to their 2020 concepts. The exception to this was that with the 2021 rules it did ‘cut’ a triangle out of the back of the floor, to reduce downforce.

Also read: FIA tries to further limit downforce for 2021 with new rules

Mercedes already knew in advance that this was her because of her concept performance would cost. According to insiders, the trim off the floor Mercedes, on average, one second per lap. The team also regularly mentioned last year that it felt both child of the bill and ‘wanted’ by this change. It also took Mercedes a lot of time to recover the lost performance to find back.

Also read: Hamilton: ‘Change to floor regulations was intended to slow us down’

The change to the floor that cost Mercedes a lot of performance in 2021. Photo: Mercedes AMG F1.