Mercedes disqualification fear eased as FIA grant more time to tackle Lewis Hamilton issue

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MERCEDES have struggled to cope with porpoising issues this season, which has left Lewis Hamilton and George Russell off the pace.

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A recent FIA ruling has granted Mercedes extra time to fix Lewis Hamilton’s porpoising issues without receiving a penalty. Silver Arrows technical director Mike Elliott recently admitted that Hamilton and George Russell may have been disqualified in Baku last month, had the FIA’s new driver safety measures been in place.

Hamilton and Russell have both had to battle with porpoising this season, but the former may have had it worse due to an experimental car set-up. That was particularly evident at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix last month, where Hamilton had to grit his teeth just to see the finish line as persistent bouncing at high speed caused crippling back pain.

The FIA have already announced that a technical directive (TD) will be introduced, using measures that determine whether driver safety is put at risk on a given race weekend. Any team found to be overstepping the mark will face penalties and Elliott claimed that Mercedes could have been punished if the TD was active in Baku.

“I think in Baku, if we’re going back through and looking at the races using that metric, is one we wouldn’t have passed,” he said. “If you looked at where we were [during the British GP], we wouldn’t have even triggered the metric. So, I think it’s difficult.”

Mercedes disqualification fear eased as FIA grant more time to tackle Lewis Hamilton issue

Lewis Hamilton clinched a podium last time out at Silverstone (Image: GETTY)

The original plan was for the TD to come into effect in time for the French Grand Prix on July 24, but the goal posts have since been moved with the FIA now setting the deadline at the Belgian Grand Prix on August 28.

Some Red Bull fans feel as though Mercedes will benefit hugely from being allowed extra time to get on top of their porpoising issue without punishment. Team principal Christian Horner recently called for teams to take more responsibility for producing faulty cars.

“Helping Mercedes as usual,” remarked @thre3d on Twitter, while @drkwv43 added: “[The deadline has been moved] to allow teams [Mercedes] to make the necessary updates.”

There are plenty, however, who argue the extension will also benefit Red Bull and Ferrari due to their flexible floor. Part of the TD will call on the leading two teams to tackle their floors which are soon to be illegal but will benefit performance in the meantime. “Red Bull and Ferrari have flexible floors and the FIA have given them four races and nearly two months to fix it while Max [Verstappen] and Charles [Leclerc] romp off to the Championship,” added @CDS_1980_.

Mercedes disqualification fear eased as FIA grant more time to tackle Lewis Hamilton issue

Mercedes now have more time to comply with the FIA’s new technical directive (Image: GETTY)

Mercedes have gradually reigned in their porpoising problems this season and Hamilton enjoyed a white-knuckle afternoon last time out at Silverstone where the W13 came into its own on the smooth, high-speed circuit.

For the second year running, the British Grand Prix didn’t quite favour Red Bull as issues with Max Verstappen’s car prevented him from finishing higher than P7, while Sergio Perez had to settle for second behind first-time winner Carlos Sainz.

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