Mercedes driver George Russell feels that if the Silver Arrows can just solve the problem of porpoising, it will address “99% of the team’s issues”.
It has been a rather disappointing start to the season for Mercedes, with the team struggling to maintain pace and consistency.
This has led to a gap already beginning to emerge in the constructors’ standings, with many believing that Red Bull and Ferrari are “in a different league”.
The Mercedes W13 has been plagued with a porpoising problem ever since pre-season. While they are not the only team to face this problem, the likes of Ferrari and Red Bull seem to have been able to address it.
The last race in Saudi Arabia saw Lewis Hamilton struggle greatly, while Russell managed to notch his second successive top-5 finish.
Russell explained the major difference between his and Hamilton’s car.
“On Lewis’ side of the garage they probably went more conservative with the setup than we did,” he said.
“That was the difference and it’s a real fine line between getting the car in the right window.
“There’s so many factors at play when we’re balancing [the car] and sometimes we change the setup thinking it will improve but it makes it slightly worse. It’s seemingly a little bit inconsistent.
“We have to assess the mechanical stiffness of the car, the stiffness of the floors, the design of the floors, tyre pressures.
“So many factors contribute to making it better or worse.”
How Mercedes can solve its problems
Russell further went on to explain how this can make a significant impact.
“The faster you go the worse it gets so it makes it harder for qualifying because we turn the engines up for maximum power to go quicker down the straight,” he said.
“It’s causing more downforce and more porpoising so we almost need to pre-empt this issue and also in the race, with DRS closed you have more downforce than when it’s open.
“That’s another factor we need to consider so we’re still learning and that’s why we’re far from optimal.
“If we solve the porpoising, that will solve 99 per cent of our issues.”