At the Spa-Francorchamps last weekend, the German manufacturer unveiled an impressive upgrade for its W14. This included an upgraded floor and new sidepods. Nonetheless, these modifications coincided with the return of an issue that Mercedes has battled throughout 2022 – vehicle bouncing on straights. This proved to be the team’s most significant challenge.
Team Principal, Wolff disclosed how the return of this phenomenon was a surprise for the team, which believed they had already tackled the issue. He emphasized the urgency of the situation, stating that it is crucial for the team to understand the cause behind this sudden recurrence.
“The main limiting factor was the bouncing – the car was just bouncing literally on every straight,” Wolff explained. He brought attention to the incident at Blanchimont, where Lewis had to lift unusually. This event, according to him, created a vicious cycle – bouncing led to tyre overheating, which then caused more bouncing.
While the team acknowledges its frustration, their focus for the following days is to comprehend this behavioural anomaly based on collected data. Wolff suspects that the recent upgrades could have induced the return of the bounce. Despite this setback, he feels confident that the team is on the right track.
With a reflective tone, Wolff stated, “We’ve got to analyse it,” while pointing out the arduous efforts of the aerodynamics and operations teams in delivering the upgrade. “I think the floor could have been the reason why we’ve been bouncing, but we’re going to see it in the data,” he said.
While the Mercedes team was not alone in experiencing this bouncing issue at Spa, driver George Russell expressed disappointment at the persistent problem. He disclosed that despite suffering massively from bouncing, many teams faced similar issues. Russell described this situation as unfortunate, especially for a sport considered the peak of motorsport. He concluded with a hopeful note, wishing for a resolution to this problem in future.