Mercedes: What’s gone wrong at the F1 and can they recover?
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Lewis Hamilton is among drivers who have been told to “stay at home” by Franz Tost after complaining about porpoising issues. The AlphaTauri boss claimed drivers should watch races on TV if driving an F1 car was “too difficult for them”.
Speaking in the team principal press conference, Tost said: “These are Formula 1 cars. This is not a Rolls-Royce, and drivers should be aware about this. If the cars are too stiff or it’s too difficult for them, maybe they should stay at home in the living room, sitting in the chair, and then they can do the races in TV or where, I don’t know.”
His comments come after Hamilton has continued to raise complaints over back pains he suffered at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. George Russell and Daniel Ricciardo are among the other drivers to have raised concerns over the bouncing they experienced in Baku.
Tost’s own driver, Pierre Gasly, has also admitted to taking painkillers due to the issues. However, the AlphaTauri boss has claimed drivers should be responsible for their own pains by doing more training ahead of races.
He believes suffering inside the car was “nothing new” and suggested extra work on neck muscle strength would help. He explained: “On one hand, I can understand it’s not so easy for them. On the other hand, this is a Formula 1 car.
“I remember back when the ‘wing cars’ were out there, there was a driver coming to me on Sunday evening and says ‘tomorrow I have to go to the dentist because I lose my fillings in the bend because the cars are so hard to drive’. It’s nothing new. First of all, the drivers must do more training for the neck muscles and for the gluteus maximus, then this helps for sure.”
The FIA has taken steps to reduce the issue by issuing a new technical directive ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix. The directive warns the FIA will measure an acceptable rate of oscillations to ensure teams cannot run their cars too low to the ground.
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They have also promised to speak to teams to look at medium-term solutions to the issues. Hamilton backed the FIA’s approach on Friday, but Tost appeared to question the effectiveness of the new guidelines
He said: “How much this can be controlled, I don’t know yet. But at Scuderia AlphaTauri we support the FIA, we will give them the data and then we will see what could be the result.”
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