Mercedes forced to rescind W13 update after Red Bull, Ferrari voice concerns over blatant ‘cheating’

Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren have led the protests around Mercedes’ latest update, claiming that they were in fact “cheating the sport” with their clever rule manipulation.

Porpoising has greatly affected Mercedes this season and Lewis Hamilton was most recently seen feeling the full brunt of it during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Mercedes was forced to take off the second floor that they had implemented ahead of practice after the aforementioned teams felt the Silver Arrows were cheating.

All year, Mercedes has felt its performance depleted by at least a second per lap due to the W13’s problems with porpoising.

Following Hamilton’s latest episode in Azerbaijan, the FIA intervened and launched a technical directive which included a metric for oscillating movement.

With this, the FIA will ascertain the amount of movement a team can have in order to ensure that the car is safe for drivers.

If the degree of porpoising is beyond the stipulated limits, teams will be asked to raise the height of their cars.

However, if even this does not work, teams will be disqualified altogether from the event.

Teams such as Red Bull have been vocal about how this has given others (read: Mercedes) a chance at clawing back some lost ground after initially getting their design wrong.

Mercedes spokesperson clarifies position

Lewis Hamilton in pain. Credit:
Lewis Hamilton in pain. Credit:

Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren found it strange that Mercedes already had the part ready to install even though the directive came in so late.

Auto Moto und Sport’s Michael Schmidt explained the team’s position.

“Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren are not only upset that the FIA ​​​​is changing the rules in the middle of the season and allowing for a second underbody support, they also openly question how Mercedes had such a stay and attachments to the chassis and floor on hand in just one day,” he said.

Mercedes clarified that the team had purposely left some people behind to help out with spare parts in case a late update was issued by the FIA.

“We had people who flew late to Montreal and took the material with them. Because of our problems with the ground, we were prepared for anything in terms of the stays,” a statement read.

Did Mercedes already know in advance?

Mercedes W13. Credit:

While the FIA has allowed for teams to use a second floor to reduce the impact felt by drivers, teams like Red Bull and Ferrari voiced their concern about how Mercedes seemed prepared with an additional floor at such short notice.

Even Alpine was equally suspicious about how Mercedes managed to arrange the spare part on such short notice.

Team boss Otmar Szafnauer commented on FIA’s new technical directive.

“As far as the process goes, it’s a technical directive – and technical directives, as we all know, are not regulations,” he said.

“So it could very well be that we shouldn’t be running this in qualifying in the race. If teams have brought those stays, I would imagine they could be perhaps looked at after and protested. 

“So it’s against the regulation as it stands today.

“We definitely don’t have one. And unfortunately, if you do have an extra stay, you can run the car lower and stiffer, and gain some advantage.”

Following this, Mercedes swiftly removed its second stay which would automatically eliminate any advantage they may have previously held after its installation.

Read more: Sebastian Vettel finally vents his frustrations – “I can’t believe it”

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