F1: Mercedes removes controversial floor ‘stay’

(GMM) Mercedes in Montreal removed an additional ‘stay’ on the floor of its struggling 2022 car following the suspicions of rival Formula 1 teams.

The rivals wondered how the uncompetitive reigning constructors’ world champions knew in advance about the new FIA technical directive on porpoising that opened the door for teams to add the additional support element.

Lewis Hamilton. Look closely, and you will see the two floor stays (support rods) securing the edge of the Mercedes floor in Practice 1 Friday. Who tipped Mercedes off early that this was going to be allowed?  It pissed the other teams off because F1’s ‘pet’ team gets special favors.

“We don’t have one because the TD came out on Thursday,” said Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer.

“To be able to do that isn’t fair for the rest of us that couldn’t bring a stay.”

Mercedes, insisting it had simply come to Canada fully prepared, removed the stay ahead of qualifying.

“I think that if it is taken away it’s the right decision. You can’t implement that in two days,” Williams boss Jost Capito said.

As ever in Formula 1, support for the FIA’s moves to stamp out porpoising on safety grounds is split between the teams that are suffering most and those who are succeeding.

“We can run these cars safely,” said Alpine’s Otmar Szafnauer. “Just raise the ride height.”

Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko on Friday called the porpoising clampdown “nonsense”, and told De Limburger that he thinks Lewis Hamilton was exaggerating his back pain after Baku.

“He can start a second career as an actor,” Marko, 78, said.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner, meanwhile, is now calling for the changes to be tied to a budget cap increase.

“There’s an inherent cost with that, which under a budget cap is very tricky to accommodate,” he told the Telegraph.

Franz Tost, boss of Red Bull’s second F1 team Alpha Tauri, said on Saturday: “If the FIA, FOM and the teams come together to increase the cost cap a little bit, I will be of course in favor of this.”