Mercedes’ Wolff says team has strong baseline without porpoising

Sam Bloxham/Motorsport Images

Mercedes’ Wolff says team has strong baseline without porpoising

Formula 1

Mercedes’ Wolff says team has strong baseline without porpoising


Mercedes does not have the same issues with porpoising in Bahrain as it did in pre-season testing 12 months ago, according to team principal Toto Wolff.

New regulations introduced last year saw cars utilizing ground effect for performance, but in trying to run them stiff and low to the ground led to the aerodynamic phenomenon of porpoising, essentially with cars bouncing rapidly when at high speed. Mercedes suffered significantly in the early part of the season, and Wolff admits it knew it had a problem instantly in Bahrain in 2022 but this year’s car is showing no signs of a repeat after George Russell’s morning of testing.

“He was generally happy with the car –it seems to be balanced in the right way,” Wolff said. “There’s no bouncing, which is good news, apart from that big bump at the end of the straight. We are getting a lot of data, which is important to correlate after last year and try different things — a productive first morning.

“We haven’t seen any bouncing. We had a little bit of movement in Turn 12, the faster one, but not anywhere close to the degree we had last year and at that stage not performance limiting.

“We knew we were in trouble (last year) because the car was bouncing around and we really weren’t able to drive it correctly. That is very different. We have a very solid base now to work from and try to optimize the car, which we haven’t done yet — it’s really just padding out, are there any areas that a could be real performance hinderance like last year with the bouncing? Now we’ve just got to work through the program.”

One area Wolff already had no concerns is with his driver line-up, as he says Lewis Hamilton has returned for the new season an even stronger prospect alongside the impressive newer arrival Russell.

“I’m amazed because he’s been in the team now for 10 years and every year he just comes back more mature, more professional, more understanding of what’s good for him and he’s in high spirits and super-determined.

“(Russell) had a fantastic first year last year, winning the race in Brazil obviously, and how he’s started working today – apart from all the work back in the factory – is great. Just very systematic, pragmatic, and it’s a pleasure to see him on track.”

Presented by