Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Albert Park, 2022

Mercedes aim to make first step towards solving floor problems in Miami

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Mercedes are aiming to bring an upgrade to next week’s Miami Grand Prix which will help address the serious porpoising problems they have encountered since the season began.

In brief

Mercedes “seeing encouraging signs” of car fix

Mercedes’ trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin says the team hopes to begin addressing its porpoising problem with upgrades from the next race.

The team has been forced to compromise its set-ups because of the extreme bouncing its cars have experienced over the opening races. “We can’t run the car where we designed it to be run,” said Shovlin in a video released by the team. “We’re having to run higher ride heights and by running higher ride heights, it’s got less performance.”

Shovlin said they have focused on trying “to find “an aerodynamic solution that we can apply to the car that will make this problem go away.”

“Being realistic we think this will be something we approach in steps rather than one big moment where the whole thing vanishes,” he added, “but we are seeing encouraging signs as I said we are hoping to bring parts to the car soon, maybe even Miami where we can hopefully see progress on this issue.”

Hawkins: “It wasn’t like that 10 or 15 years ago, unfortunately”

Jessica Hawkins, who splits a role as driver ambassador to the Aston Martin F1 team with racing in W Series and in British TCR, told RaceFans that she thought her early karting achievements would have attracted more attention in 2022 than they did in the 2000s.

“I sometimes think obviously, females now are hot property and if there’s a fast one they get snapped up,” Hawkins said. “And I think had I achieved what I achieved, but 10 or 15 years later, I genuinely think it might be a different story.

‘I was British [karting] champion at a very young age, won loads of stuff in Europe in my teenage years. And had that been the case now, I think there would be people trying to get me to sign for things.

“But it wasn’t like 10 or 15 years ago, unfortunately,” she explained. “I don’t know – but I’m here now. I wouldn’t change a thing. Other than maybe make it a little bit easier.”

Imola defence shouldn’t lessen 2022 overtaking improvements – Albon

Alex Albon said that despite his long defence against Hamilton and Pierre Gasly around Imola, in what appeared to be a DRS train, the 2022 cars are still improved for close racing.

“I still think the cars are better for overtaking, better for racing,” the Williams driver said. “It’s just this track’s quite tricky. We only have one DRS point – of course, it’s not great to always have DRS overtakes, but this track’s hard.

“There’s not really a place where you can brake late and overtake it’s all quite quick, which stops the overtaking.”

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Comment of the day

Comparing George Russell and Lewis Hamilton’s fortunes at Imola, Greasemonkey says the Mercedes car may yet evolve to suit Hamilton more.

The lesson here is similar to 2009 Brawn. Style matching with cars matters. A lot. Even to world class drivers.

Early 2009 season favoured gentle style, with tyres and double diffusor being what it was out of the box. Late 2009, frankly, had Barrichello doing better than Button, when more aggressive style was necessary to make things work (tyres in particular).

If you watched only the early season, you’d say Button was better than Barrichello. If you watched late season only, you’d say the opposite.

So even across many seasons it can be difficult to really figure out who is “better”, or even what “better” really means at all.

So I watch racing because racing is cool, fun, and I am addicted to it in real life. I don’t worry about who is better.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Russell G., Varun, Krtekf1, Muz and Tez!

On this day in motorsport

  • 25 years ago today the Lola Formula 1 team was liquidated. It had shown up for the season-opening race in Australia but neither driver qualified.

Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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34 comments on “Mercedes aim to make first step towards solving floor problems in Miami”

  1. ThreePurpleSectors (@)
    28th April 2022, 0:43

    Waiting with baited breath to know who LH will hire for the interior design of his property. Also would like to know when he hires a contractor for expansion projects around the house.

  2. One wonders whether or not Mercedes will encounter budget cap issues in their search to solve their issues.

    Must be very different having to watch spending and not be able to spend your way out of problems like the big teams were able to in the past.

    That’s a good thing. Just different.

    1. ThreePurpleSectors (@)
      28th April 2022, 1:07

      Those days are gone. They can’t just through money at the problems they’re having. Mercedes has always been very methodical about upgrades but the extra restrictions of the modern era means they have to be economical and vet their upgrades as best they can before they green light manufacturing and testing. Even R&D has to be rationed.

    2. What if Hamilton throws some cash their way to keep fund the solution….. Is that allowed?

      1. It doesn’t matter where the money is coming from, it’s the expense amount that matters.

        It’s something else if Mercedes has a huge fan base of aero guys running simulation and sharing some findings with the team. Surprised we don’t see more teams having (side) partnership with universities as this is a cheap way to get research done (or maybe the only part is that we don’t hear or see about it). Is there any restriction on the type of scientific exchanges they might have?

        1. @jeanrien I think as soon as any data was passed to the team, then any organisation / university would need to be declared in the teams budget reports. It would presumably be a very inefficient way of doing things (against having an in-house dedicated team).

          Of course, if some people were to have access to the latest CFD software and a friend who works as at an F1 team, I don’t see what stops two friends meeting in a bar one night and having a chat about this and that……. or how it’s enforceable to stop them having that chat.

          I do wonder with the Ferrari / Stepney / McLaren / Coughlan thing, if his wife had access to a photocopier, say at work or somewhere, or it was transferred on a USB stick, they would never have been found out, or how many people who work at photocopier shops would recognise the IP of a Ferrari F1 car and then tip them off?

          If anyone of those links broke down, they’d have got away with it, I wouldn’t be surprised if data smuggling is probably a component of any successful F1 team.

          1. @bernasaurus My point was not so much about data but models. I believe many teams have developed in house fluid models and that they continue to develop them to have best possible correlation. This could be outsource to university and not sure it would necessarily mean extra costs for the team depending on the agreement. University can publish papers and teams benefit from improving products. Even if it might benefit other teams, the lag would give an advantage to the partnership vs other teams using/copying results (which still need to be integrated in existing models and requires time and cost).

            In a similar way some teams get involve in other projects where there is definitely knowledge transfer. Mercedes and RedBull have been involved in America cup campaign and while many won’t see much relevance between sailing and F1, the latest generation of boat is build around aero and might be even more complex than F1 (with foils in the water causing cavitation passed a certain speed). To continue the circle, funnily, some AC team is currently chasing speed record on land.

          2. A recent report (somewhere) described how McLaren had upgraded their computers and now, for the same time allotment, they get a considerable boost in CFD runs.
            As with most things in F1, it is about speed and efficiency. Moore is better.

    3. Their Floor design has a big problam as the no sidepod means the floor has a lot of long pieces sticking out the edges which is causing the problem fixing that they need to return sidepods a bit (at least the bottom part)

  3. With respect to the Albon sentence, from memory there was a long delay before DRS activation after the track was clearly dry with zero overtakes from a couple of trains of cars.

    1. And that is precisely his point. It is easier to follow but the track didn’t allow for the overtakes to happen on Sunday.

      On the other hand, overtakes were possible in the dry on Saturday with the out-of-order cars, as overtaking cars could exit the corner with more speed and grip than in the past.

      1. Sure – just pointing out that from this single, fairly rare data point (extended running without DRS) there’s no real evidence that similarly shod, these cars won’t form trains with or without DRS.

  4. This is it guys. We’ve been here before. Brace yourselves for an epic Mercedes comeback.

    1. I got confused, do you mean Mercedes to rebound back at year 2024? I doubt they will stay beyond year 2023, probably some Porsche or BMW team to take over Brackley factory after they left?

    2. @brum55 except this time it will be epic even though I have predicted since bahrain.
      Cotd is reading too much or filling the imaginary gaps. I still think Hamilton and merc are favourites for the title but Russell is already an headache for the team.

      1. Lol it fascinates me that we have grown men, probably peoples fathers making such stupid statements. It’s unbelievable…

  5. Imola seemed to me to illustrate the difference between real passing and assisted passing with DRS. First part of the race was more exciting and unpredictable until we moved to the duller DRS phase.
    Sometimes I notice that fans of DRS seem to think passing is unlikely without it. I’ve been watching F1 since the 70s and passing was plentiful and far more exciting and crafted, needing guile and patience. Take the Mansell or early Schumacher eras for example. Overall a GP was a more satisfying spectacle.
    There was a period before 2011 when there were fewer overtakes but the DRS solution has diluted the enjoyment, a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

    1. @Gmacz Although not much overtaking happened even after DRS became available.
      Some tracks are just easier for overtaking than others.

      1. @jerejj @Gmacz
        Don’t forget the dry line with the cool and damp patches on the side. The track is in itself a challenge to overtake on, but you can’t outbrake someone on a cold and damp patch. So the specific circumstances exacerbated the problem*.

        *if the low number of overtakes is actually a problem or not is up for debate

        1. @baasbas Good catch.

    2. Completely agree

    3. Plus, in the races where there is no DRS available, you can see which drivers really are capable, know how to pressure their opponents into mistakes, how to read the other one‘s driving and defending and car‘s strenghts and weaknesses, how to be smart and tactical about it and how to get the pass done.

      Compare to DRS: get remotely close (because 1 sec in F1 still is an eternity last time i checked), sit it out through the tricky bits of the track, zoom past on the straight. Wow.

      1. Maybe but it’s quite clear that there needs to be considerable performance difference for an overtake without DRS to happen, and even sometimes with DRS! Or tyre deg being far worse for a car that is similar in performance to the overtaking car.

  6. Perhaps encouraging signs, but probably too late for WDC & WCC battles.
    As much as I hope they could still join them, especially the former, as the more drivers involved, the better, I don’t have faith anymore.

    Albon is right. Imola only isn’t among the most overtaking-friendly circuits, but racing generally has been better with the new car generation.

    Greed? Maybe maybe not, but the only thing I wish is either parc ferme commencing from Sprint lights out or Saturday practice getting axed altogether to avoid meaningless running under parc ferme.

    If both have tested positive, they should have enough time for isolation completion unless they’d have to isolate for ten days, which would last until practice day.

    I share COTD’s view.

  7. Interesting point made by CotD, however I think Brawn GP is not a good example. They didn’t upgrade their car at all in ’09, simply because they didn’t have any kind of budget for R&D and production of parts. Whenever some parts got damaged (i.e. a front wing) they had to repair them, because they didn’t have a spare one. The former Brawn (now Mercedes) engineers even claim that their car actually got slower over the course of the season, because all the repairs had a negative impact on performance.
    Maybe the car getting slower in certain areas favoured Barrichello or Brawn had to try different ways to set up their car to drag more performance out of it and that didn’t help Button. Or simply the pressure of the championship fight was getting to Jenson and he started getting more cautious in certain situations. Apparently Button was getting quite bitter towards the team during the final stages of the championship and started criticising them for not giving him a faster car. In the end he didn’t even tell the team he already signed for McLaren, they had to find out from the McLaren press-release.

    There is an interesting article about the Brawn GP season on ESPN, called ‘The untold stories of Brawn GP: How close the fairy tale came to never happening’.

    1. @srga91 to be fair Button never told the team when he signed for Williams for 2005 either and look what happened there! I think Button became frustrated as the setup seemed to be going towards Barrichello and away from him. It’s kind of understandable when you’ve had a car that handles a dream for half a season suddenly becomes undrivable for you while your teammate is loving it.

      Ultimately for me, the criticism is just a case of some people jumping the gun and gleefully jumping on bandwagon while there is chance. The sample data of 4 races is hardly conclusive proof of driver performance. Hamilton had one race where he qualified badly, because the team went for 2 very different setups and kitted out the cars with sensors to understand their issues so the actual result that weekend was always secondary to the data they were gathering.

      The last race he qualified badly in a car that was clearly not setup very well and is still notoriously hard to handle. Russell was equally struggling but he was just fast enough to put him past the slowest of the midfield pack where as Hamilton got stuck in the second pack. The fact it was a sprint weekend so they had limited practice time also didn’t help setting up the car. Race weekends like that tend to benefit the teams that find setups quickly and Mercedes aren’t one of those teams yet. RBR seem to be able to throw their car out with any setup and it’s quick for example.

      For the other two races Hamilton beat Russell and came behind in the other due to a safety car helping Russell. Honours were pretty even in those races.

      The 2 very bad races for Hamilton were primarily due to qualifying issues and there were some mitigating factors around them. Ultimately there are just a lot of Hamilton detractors out there who have an agenda and the current season has invited them out to gloat about his troubles. The rather sad part about this entire affair is people aren’t giving Russell the credit he deserves for getting the maximum out of the car at the moment.

      1. @slowmo
        That was just the way it turned out. Unfortunately for Jenson the team had to make some compromises setup-wise in the second half of the season to drag more performance out of the car which in the end seemed to suit Rubens more than him. Of course that’s frustrating, but it wasn’t just Button’s championship campaign, but Brawn’s and Barrichello’s as well. It was all about maximizing performance and understandably the team didn’t care who of their two drivers comes out on top.

        Regarding Mercedes, that’s exactly what I’ve been saying as well. Russell and Hamilton are on the same level, with qualifying often deciding which driver gets the better result. In Bahrain it was Hamilton (Australia would’ve been the same if it wasn’t for the SC), while in Jeddah and Imola it was Russell. The difference in Imola was so huge, because a) Russell qualified better than Hamilton and b) had a great start, which already put him in P6, while Hamilton was stuck in P11. After that Hamilton got stuck in a train of slower cars, meaning he couldn’t get his tyres in the optimal operating window (and the Mercedes already struggles with getting enough heat into the tyres), while Russell made up one postion on Magnussen and that was it for his race.
        If you look at their runs in FP2 in dry conditions, Russell and Hamilton were very closely matched. There is little to choose between the two drivers, the results just heavily depend on the circumstances.

        1. And as George explained neither got their hot lap in for qualifying at Imola. The first ‘hot’ lap they compromise on as its the 2nd or 3rd hot lap that gives them the time. In Imola they couldnt get those laps in, so both were out of position. ‘We also take a bigger jump from the 2nd (hot) lap, in Aus it was the 3rd.’ George. That’s not to say George wouldn’t out qualify Ham, just that both their times didn’t reflect what the car could do as they were still bringing in the car for the ultimate qually lap.
          They were also using different wings during P1 in Imola, so not sure whether they reverted to the one wing before parc ferme conditions were set.

  8. RD issue not a problem, just send the Virtual RD.

    1. ian dearing, whilst the FIA have set up the remote race-control operation centre, I don’t think that involves a virtual race director – I believe it replicates the lower level staff, but not the race director role.

      However, one option that has been floated is that either Wittich or Freitas could carry out their role remotely, as most of their duties could actually be done from the virtual race control centre.

      Another option is that Colin Haywood, who serves as the deputy race director, could potentially temporarily take on the role of race director for this event – Herbie Blash, who has served as a deputy race director, could then temporarily take up the deputy race director role.

      A third option seems to be drafting in Scott Elkins – he currently serves as the race director for Formula E, but could temporarily take on the role of F1 race director.

  9. Interesting to see the FIA insist on additional funding for the extra sprints. Ironically, when some teams said exactly the same thing last year (need to raise the budget cap to accommodate additional sprints), they were heckled here and on other sites for being greedy – the same label that’s now being applied to the FIA.
    I don’t think it’s anything to do with greed. Rather, it is plain realism.

    1. I suspect the irony will be lost on the F1 folks. LM have been bigging up the increase in F1 value, the teams have been talking publicly of been worth a billion, meanwhile the FIA looses 2.5m p/a. Suspect the FIA has decided the time is right to “milk the cow”

      Also, the drivers have written to the FIA to ask where the monies from license fees and fines goes. The only destination of monies for a fine I know was last year in the form of a tax deductible charity donation. It is strange given the system has been in place for many years but I think the FIA will provide a short blunt response and refer them to their annual accounts.

  10. we are hoping to bring parts to the car soon, maybe even Miami where we can hopefully see progress on this issue

    If you heard this in any workplace anywhere, you’d instantly classify it as BS/waffle from someone who really hasn’t got a clue and isn’t going to deliver any time soon/this year.
    Maybe at Mercedes it’s different.

    1. I think that just means the parts could make it if finished but its not guaranteed. Frequently in software development you can’t always commit until you’ve reached a certain tipping point. He’s just edging his bet in case something goes wrong.

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