Mercedes driver George Russell has hit back at Red Bull team boss Christian Horner’s claim that drivers, including Russell’s teammate Lewis Hamilton, only “nag” about the physical effects of porpoises in F1.
F1 has returned to ground effect car designs this year for the first time since the 1980s, allowing cars to follow each other more closely and allowing drivers to race harder. So far, the changes seem to be having the desired effect, with Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen engaging in exciting tactical scrambles for the lead in the early laps.
But the aerodynamic shift has introduced a peculiar quirk known as “porpoises,” in which cars bounce intensely at high speeds because the balance of air beneath the floor shifts fore and aft. While some teams have managed to mitigate the issue to some extent, drivers’ heads often end up being violently banged back and forth during races, and fans and pundits alike have called on the FIA to address this issue in the future to protect drivers. health.
Earlier this season, Hamilton and Russell had to slow down on the straights at Imola to protect themselves from the effects of the porpoise, while Hamilton suffered from back pain so severe during Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix that he struggled to finish the race finish car at the end of the race.
The 37-year-old described the Baku race as the most physically demanding of his career, but Horner said afterwards that drivers who complained about porpoises were just “b*tching” because Red Bull suffer less than others and from today’s perspective have the fastest car. But Russell objected to Horner’s comments, stating that drivers were more concerned about health and safety than competitiveness.
“No one says that to gain an advantage,” Russell continued SkySports F1. “They have the Ferrari drivers and even Max [Verstappen] say how hard it is.
“Either you have porpoises and the car hits the ground, or you have to drive the car millimeters, maybe an inch, off the ground and smash the bumps. However you have it, it’s not great for anyone. Something will happen. There is no doubt about it.
“But I don’t know what the solution is, to be honest. In the end, most of us are in the same boat.”
Russell, 24, who serves as director of the drivers’ union at the Grand Prix Drivers Association, said the porpoise’s physical effects have already worsened since the start of the season.
“It feels worse,” Russell added. “Earlier in the season we had these porpoises and it was a slower, kind of rippled effect. Since Barcelona we have a different problem. They’re not easy, these cars, no doubt.
“I was pretty pleased to see the race come to an end because for an hour and a half I smashed the ground on every single corner, every single lap [and it was] pretty brutal. We have to deal with that and live with it at the moment, and we as drivers have to reckon with it.
“There will be no short-term changes, but discussions are ongoing as to what the long-term future of these regulations will be. Just take a look. We have a lot of brilliant engineers and smart people in the sport and I’m sure they will find a solution.”
The ninth round of the 2022 F1 season takes place this weekend in Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix.
‘You just pray it stops’ – Lewis Hamilton suffers from back pain after Azerbaijan GP
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/06/14/george-russell-hits-back-at-christian-horners-claim-f1-drivers-are-only-btching-about-porpoising-injuries-16823196/ George Russell hits back at Christian Horner's claim that F1 drivers only 'nag' about porpoise injuries.