Christian Horner rages at FIA even though ‘very unfair’ F1 change set to hurt Mercedes

Mercedes: What’s gone wrong at the F1 and can they recover?

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Red Bull principal Christian Horner has raged at the FIA for introducing a rule set to stop the amount of porpoising that Formula One cars are currently experiencing – even though it is actually set to harm rivals Mercedes’ chances of winning races again.

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell have failed to compete with title competitors Red Bull and Ferrari and the duo have been frustrated in recent weeks with it now clear they will not be able to challenge for the driver’s title. Porpoising has had a huge saying in their poor performance, with the new car bouncing up and down on straights – which has ultimately slowed Hamilton and Russell down heavily.

That in itself is a huge reason as to why they are 118 points behind Red Bull after just eight races. But with the FIA now ordering teams to reduce porpoising or risk being penalised, Horner has hit out at chiefs of the sport’s governing body for the decision – claiming it is “very unfair” for all teams due to budgeting constraints.

The Red Bull boss thinks it is not right that the FIA are changing regulations due to Mercedes’ problems, even though the new rule could actually work against the Silver Arrows. The FIA insist they are doing so on the basis of driver safety, with Hamilton, Russell and others complaining not just of back problems but the potential long-term effects of the shaking of the spine and brain.

“It seems very unfair, under a set of regulations, to say that just because they’ve [Mercedes have] got it wrong, everybody else has to change,” Horner told The Daily Telegraph. “There’s an inherent cost with that, which, under a budget cap, is very tricky to accommodate. It’s never a healthy precedent. I landed last night and was confronted with this. I’m not sure what the consultation process was.

“We need to understand from the FIA, how do they intend to police this? What are the metrics, the what-if scenarios? I can see that their intent is well-meaning, but the execution is tantamount to a regulation change.” The new regulation will mean that Mercedes will have to increase the ride height of the car, almost certainly slowing the vehicle down.

Teams who haven’t suffered from porpoising such as Red Bull will benefit from the change despite Horner’s unhappiness. Yet Horner is not pleased because he believes this will cause more controversy on the grid with teams constantly wary of penalties.

He added: “If a team operates a car in what the FIA deem to be a dangerous manner, there is always the option of a black flag. If they knew they were going to be disqualified for running a dangerous set-up, they would raise the height of the car, and then the driver wouldn’t experience the porpoising. But of course, that would be to the detriment of aerodynamics.

“There’s a bigger picture we need to look at, beyond whether one team wins and one loses. Is it the right thing to be doing? Has it been implemented in the right way? This is one of those situations where some teams are coping OK but one team in particular isn’t. Should we change everything for one team? Or should that one team sort its issues out?”

Hamilton had to be helped out of his car in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix after complaining about back pains from his car violently bouncing. Team principal Toto Wolff even described the vehicle as a “s**t box” in Baku.

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