Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2022

Hamilton: Mercedes’ rivals are coping better with ‘porpoising’

2022 F1 season

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Lewis Hamilton says some of Mercedes rivals are coping better than they are with the ‘porpoising’ problem many teams have experienced in testing.

Formula 1 teams have found their cars are bouncing on their suspension at high speed, due to the difficulty of optimising the airflow through the ‘tunnels’ permitted by new rules for 2020.

Mercedes became the centre of attention yesterday when they introduced a radical upgrade to their W13’s sidepods. But Hamilton said that despite the change, the car’s performance feels worse in some respects compared to the previous test.

“The package is very similar,” said Hamilton, “it’s just really the wind, the bouncing that we have – we still have that this week, if anything it’s worse – so we’re just working through lots of different scenarios, trying to work out how to hold onto the downforce and not have it bouncing as it was in the last test.

“I think everyone’s probably in a similar boat. Some have managed to get around it in a better way.

“But it’s difficult out there. It’s bumpy, it’s slippery, it’s sandy. In the morning it’s way too hot and in the afternoon it’s gusty.”

Hamilton said the difference in how his car feels in the second test is not down to the new package the team has introduced.

“The car definitely is different to last week but I think it’s more that the tyres working with these temperatures are different here,” he said. “It’s a different machine this weekend but I don’t think it’s the change we’ve made.

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“So much great work has gone into creating this upgrade but it’s just hurdles that we’re coming across with this new kind of car that everyone’s facing in 2022. I’m confident in the team here and back at the factory that we’ll figure it out but it’s definitely not going to be a smooth run.”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner claimed today Mercedes are disguising their true pace. But Hamilton said the difficulty he and team mate George Russell are having at the wheel of their car shows that isn’t the case.

“We’d be really, really good if we were having all these oversteer moments and having this tacky driving just to hide our cars,” he said. “That’s not the case.

“We have things that we’re trying to get through. As I said others are struggling less. But who knows, when we get to next week we’ll have a good idea.”

“You can see on the onboard,” he added, “tank-slappers left, right and centre and then bouncing and bumping. It’s not quite happy at the moment but we’re trying to tame that.”

Asked who would lead the way if next week’s Bahrain Grand Prix was held tomorrow, Hamilton said “I think Ferrari, from what I can see – Ferrari would probably be getting a one-two or maybe Red Bull.”

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37 comments on “Hamilton: Mercedes’ rivals are coping better with ‘porpoising’”

  1. I agree with Crofty. Alpha Tauri is the worst on porpoising

    1. @ruliemaulana Especially with Gasly.

    2. Mwah, both AT and Mercedes are horrible.

  2. Don’t those slim sidepods make it harder to stiffen the floor?

    1. Not any more difficult than running an undercut sidepod as many teams are this season. This gives me hope that if there is a significant performance benefit in their design that more teams will develop their cooling technology to allow them to exploit this as well. However this would be quite unlikely this season, at the earliest it would be for 2023.

      1. Yeah, I guess you’re right.

    2. @jabr Saw an interview with the Mercedes technical director last night (with Ted Kravitz) and he did mention the distance to the floor edge being a slight issue. That was the reason given for the stays they’ve used.

  3. He’s not wrong. That car really does look awful on track. It might be great in the wind tunnel and simulator, but I’ve watched two full days of running now and I’d say the Mercedes looks one of the worse cars out there. Acceleration looks poor and it just has zero grip on turn in.

    I felt Mercedes were near the top after Spain, but so far I’ve seen nothing from Bahrain to back that up. I genuinely wouldn’t be surprised if they reverted to the car from Spain tomorrow to see what they’ve got with their base package.

    Everyone was screaming that the Championship was over when they revealed their side-pods, but it appears they’ve got things really wrong this year.

    1. Totally remains to be seen, right, and who knows where they’ll all be with their cars and in the standings come mid-season. Added to what you have just observed and reported on, I read Brundle say today that Mercedes looked the most stable in turns 14 & 15 I think it was. Yet LH doesn’t sound all that confident for the time being. It really is all still a mystery, with perhaps some things coming to light, and perhaps a bit more tomorrow, but my goodness it is going to be so so exciting to see them actually race in anger next weekend, and then as well to see where it all goes from there.

    2. It looks awful off track too.

    3. Looking at the minisectors their performance is just fine. The usual Mercedes sandbagging and underdog whining.

  4. They can always revert to Barcelona spec car and just raise a bit the ride height with a bit of stiffer suspension.
    Problem solved.

    1. You really are a engineering mastermind, Totto will have you on the team until midnight.

      1. Nahh ….. be finished and have time to go to the pub.

  5. Jesus Christ season didnt even started and moaning is already here.

    1. This made me chuckle. I think so as well

  6. Apparently Mercedes are producing tons of downforce. They are collecting the data and figuring out the car’s operating window. The porpoising strangely will be gone by the first qualifying session. I’ll be surprised to see anything but a Hamilton pole position half a second minimum clear of the rest.

    The only question mark for me is Russel whether he will be straightaway on Hamilton’s pace which I highly suspect not because I don’t believe in his talent but I think that he is lagging behind Hamilton in the technical department – which is normal – and will need more time to learn how to drive the new cars on the limit.

    1. I think they need a bit more testing for that.

  7. Dave (@davewillisporter)
    11th March 2022, 17:58

    Mercedes had the same problem last year. Not really understanding the package or how to optimise it. By the mid season upgrade they’d nailed it and had the fastest car at the end of the season.
    I suspect this design is fast when optimised. It just may take a few races to do that.

    1. You mean after Pirelli introduced tailor made tires for Mercedes they “nailed” it?

      1. +1, the key to last season..

    2. @davewillisporter Not sure about a few races given all we’re hearing, but for sure it would be folly not to assume Mercedes will only get stronger and stronger during the season, but then there is no reason others won’t too, given their jumping off point with these cars.

  8. Classic mercedes pr. The season’s over before it started. What a shame! Max is going to be remembered as the last non-mercedes f1 champion.

    1. Don’t place your bets quite yet, and let me tell you why with some cliche facts: We have not seen its true performance nor its reliability. To finish first, first you must finish. It’s a long season, the longest yet (presumably Russia will get a replacement on the calendar)

    2. How much of the testing sessions have you watched Rob? You’re jumping to conclusions way too fast! Ferrari look to be the real deal this year. Every fuel level the car looks very smooth and ultra responsive. RedBull look a bit more twitchy, but they aren’t slow. Of the top teams Mercedes genuinely look the worst.I expect them to work their way back to the top throughout the season, but people need to stop thinking it’s 2014. Mercedes were beaten last year and these regulations are huge changes. Let’s wait and see, but I think you’ll have a very eggy face come next weekend.

  9. Mercedes the underdogs, season 9

    1. How Mercedes managed to win the Constructor’s Championship with the worst car on the grid for the 9th season in a row

  10. Personally I hope they don’t get over their current issues and have to revert back to the previous version of the car.

    The main reason I say this is that this car is just so ugly. I really don’t like it. If it proves successful though, they will all look like this next year. I am well aware this does not matter to many people but I remember the beautiful designs from years ago (in my opinion).

    Hopefully there can be some change in the rules if things start moving that way.

  11. Bono my skid block is gone!

  12. Problems to solve but ultimately no indication that they don’t know how to solve them. Whether this is an upgrade from Barcelona is hard to say, probably more accurate to say that it’s two different solutions being tested. But presumably this one is the one they want to run with…

  13. I’m looking forward to the 1st race when we can see who has the real pace. If I recall Ferrari was looking strong last year in testing until the season started and RB & Merc took out the sandbags and out developed Ferrari (who stopped early to work on 2022).

    It will be exciting to see what RB shows up with tomorrow in testing.

    1. It would be wrong to assume mercedes won’t be the best or among the best after their performance record since 2014.

  14. Its either downplay or insecurity again

  15. The goblins are back in the comments for another year at least

  16. Does anyone know if there is a penalty for Hamilton not attending the presentation last year and if so what is it?

Comments are closed.