Mercedes: What’s gone wrong at the F1 and can they recover?
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Toto Wolff has slammed the FIA for not taking action on illegal cars exploiting a loophole earlier in the season. The Mercedes team principal said action should have been brought into effect “three races ago” and not delayed until the Belgian Grand Prix.
The FIA will introduce an Aerodynamic Oscillation Metric (AOM) to measure the cars’ bouncing from Spa, despite initially wanting to introduce the changes for this weekend. The move was designed to reduce porpoising but controversially unearthed a loophole.
The FIA found deformations on a number of team’s skid blocks when they analysed them ahead of the rules changes. The damage was above what teams are allowed under the technical regulations meaning teams had used their floors to gain speed.
It is understood some teams have also tricked the measurement system, using the car’s weight. Stationary, the weight of the car would compress and ensure the car was legal.
However, out on track the materials could expand and allow for more flexibility of the planks which would lead to performance gains. The new rules will prevent teams from playing around with their flexible floors but a delay to Belgian means teams may still be able to gain the extra advantage for this weekend.
Wolff told Sky Sports F1: “I think it was a coincidence that the FIA spotted it at one of the races and made it very clear that this was not on. When asked if the new changes will make much difference to the pecking order, Wolff was less convinced.
“I think first of all there is no such thing as a magic bullet unless you speak of a double diffuser. So that is not going to make a big difference. They will need to run the car maybe on the front a little bit higher than they used to be.
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“I think this (technical directive) should have been brought into place once it was discovered three races ago. So the argument of is it fair to have brought it into the middle of the season is the wrong one.
“It should have been introduced when it was discovered because it’s clearly much more than a loophole.” Christian Horner has been vocal against in-season rule changes but insisted any suggestions Red Bull were running illegal floors were wrong.
He said: “Total, total rubbish. The floor… I think we’re getting issues mixed up here.”
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