Mercedes’ George Russell reacts to FIA changing rules to help him and Lewis Hamilton
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Mercedes ace George Russell has welcomed the FIA’s rule change that will ease the porpoising issues he and Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton have faced this season. The F1 governing body published a technical directive ahead of this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix which contains measures to limit and eliminate cars’ bouncing problems after Hamilton suffered with severe back pain at last weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
“It’s promising to see that they’ve made action on this straight away and it’s not taken them weeks and months and political decisions to change something like this,” Russell said. “When it comes to safety, things need to be resolved ASAP. So I’m pleasantly – not surprised to see it come in so quick – but I think it’s good for everyone.”
Porpoising issues have affected a number of teams on the grid this season after constructors were forced to redesign their cars over the winter amid a whole host of F1 rule changes. But Red Bull’s new RB18 hasn’t been affected anywhere near as much as the cars of some of their rivals.
And last weekend, the Austrian team’s chief Christian Horner suggested that Mercedes are making the issue appear to be much worse than it is in order to push through a rule change that would benefit them.
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“Look, it is uncomfortable but there are remedies to that but it is detrimental to the car performance,” Horner said after the Azerbaijan race. “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 but if it is only affecting isolated people or teams, then that is something that the team should potentially deal with. The easiest thing is obviously to raise the car so a team has a choice to do that.”
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But Russell has hit back and has claimed a rule change could actually make the Silver Arrows weaker, despite their struggles this season. “This is something that everyone thinks Mercedes is pushing for,” the Briton went on to explain. “But from a pure performance side of things we don’t really want change because if there’s change you never know if it’s going to go in your favour or against you.
“It’s something that we as drivers have spoken about globally that we want change moving forward because what we went through last weekend just wasn’t sustainable. It doesn’t matter what boat you’re in, you’re either porpoising and you’re hitting the ground or you have no porpoising so you’re running the car very close to the ground. Either way you look at it, it’s not great.”
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