Mercedes solved its porpoising issues a number of races ago but needs to manage expectations that it will be competitive in Silverstone, according to Toto Wolff.
Through opening races of the season, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell suffered heavily form the porpoising phenomenon in which the car rose up and down rapidly in a straight line, but there was a clear step forward at the Spanish Grand Prix. Since then, Wolff says the issues faced in Monaco and Baku were simply a stiff ride leading to uncomfortable bouncing, and that it is no longer a problem for the team.
“In a way we have dissected what we define as porpoising or bouncing,” Wolff said. “The porpoising — which is the aerodynamic movement of the car — I think that’s solved and we got on top of this around Barcelona. It is more that the ride of the car is really what’s causing the comments of the drivers that the cars are simply all too stiff. The curb-riding is bad, the bump-riding is bad, and I would say that now we’ve dissected the problem you can tackle it better.
“Silverstone was good to us in the past and the circuit is more smooth than the last three were, but it’s not Barcelona, so now we should manage our own expectations and just really grind away, look at the data and come up with some sensible solutions. Not only for Silverstone but going forward also.
“We just need to put more load on the car, more downforce, and equally not as low on the ground as we have expected. It’s a clear direction now — you can see the cars are going higher, and this is where we need to find the performance.”
Wolff warns there is no guarantee that Mercedes will be strong in Silverstone just because of the step forward it showed in Canada — where bouncing didn’t appear to be an issue — on top of its Barcelona pace.
“One swallow doesn’t make a summer. We saw that swallow also in Barcelona, but somehow it flew somewhere else, so I think we need to be careful. We were off the pace on Friday, in the wet we were good — I think that was respectable — and then (in the race) I think at times we were with the quickest cars.
“In the second stint Lewis and George were almost matching the front-runners — maybe not quite but on some laps yes — and that is very encouraging to see. But we just need to be careful, there is so much work we need to do in order to be back at the front and we are not yet there.”