FIA’s stance on Mercedes complaints as Christian Horner claims Red Bull rivals ‘bitching’

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The FIA are reportedly considering whether to launch an investigation into the bouncing experienced by Mercedes and a number of other teams at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix despite Christian Horner’s assertion that Red Bull’s rivals are simply ‘bitching’ about the issue. Mercedes were particularly affected by the problem on the streets of Baku, with Lewis Hamilton complaining of back pain via team radio on a number of occasions throughout the 51-lap race.

The seven-time champion was spotted moving gingerly as he stepped out of his car at the end of the contest before revealing that he nearly crashed after being left unable to see properly due to the violent shaking in the cockpit. The FIA are now prepared to investigate the matter over the coming weeks amid growing concerns over the health of the affected drivers, according to Auto Motor und Sport.

It is claimed that the governing body intends to address the issue by sounding out drivers and technical directors for talks in order to establish the right way to move forward. However, it remains to be seen whether any strong conclusions will be drawn by the FIA, with a number of teams having accused Mercedes of pushing an agenda with their criticism of the bouncing.

Toto Wolff has been vocal in speaking out against the problem over the last few weeks, while Hamilton and George Russell have also raised questions over the long-term health effects that could arise as a direct result of the issue. Red Bull team principal Horner was quick to play down the situation in Baku, though, by insisting that it should be the responsibility of teams to fix their own problems rather than pleading with the FIA to change the rules.

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When quizzed on what he would do if his drivers were affected by the bouncing, Horner replied: “Tell them to bitch as much as they could over the radio and make as big an issue out of it as they possibly could.

“It is part of the game, of course it is. Look, it is uncomfortable but there are remedies to that but it is detrimental to the car performance.

“What is the easiest thing to do? Complain from a safety point of view, but each team has a choice. If it was a genuine safety concern across the whole grid then it is something that should be looked at.”

It remains to be seen whether the FIA will decide to make any regulation changes in order to combat the bouncing, which is a by-product of the ground effect that generates a significant percentage of downforce under the current set of rules. Hamilton revealed after Sunday’s race in Baku that it was the most painful of his career to date and that he was relieved to see the chequered flag, which eventually brought an end to his suffering.

“That’s the only thing, biting down on my teeth through pain and just adrenaline,” he told Sky Sports F1 when quizzed on the issue.

“I can’t express the pain that you experience, particularly on the straight here. At the end, you’re just praying for it to end.”


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