Formula One: Russell calls for F1 rules rethink to address 'dangerous' porpoising

Mercedes' George Russell talks to the media after the qualifying session, ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. PHOTO: AFP

BAKU (REUTERS) - Mercedes driver George Russell on Saturday (June 11) called the "porpoising" experienced by the 2022 Formula One cars a "recipe for disaster" and warned it was only a matter of time before it caused a major accident.

The phenomenon, in which the cars bounce dramatically at high speeds as aerodynamic grip is gained then lost, like the motion of a porpoise through water, has resulted from a radical rules overhaul introduced this year.

That overhaul has seen the cars generate a significant chunk of their grip from the underside of the floor.

"I think it's just a matter of time before we see a major incident," Russell told reporters after qualifying fifth for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

"A lot of us can barely keep the car in a straight line over these bumps, we're going around the last two corners at 300 kilometres per hour, bottoming out, you can visibly see on the tarmac, how close the cars are running into the ground."

"With the technology we have in today's environment, it seems unnecessary we're running an F1 car at 200 miles an hour millimetres from the ground and it's a recipe for disaster.

"I don't really know what the future holds but I don't think we can sustain this for three years or however long these regulations are in force for," Russell added.

Teams have been affected to varying degrees by the bouncing and have had to run their cars at a higher ride height to mitigate it which has compromised performance.

Russell's formerly dominant Mercedes team has struggled with the problem all year.

Mercedes' George Russell in action during qualifying ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Ferrari have also been among those most affected but it has not stopped them being in the fight at the front.

Team bosses said they needed to understand why some outfits were affected to a greater degree, adding a solution would be found with time.

"I'm pretty sure we will find a solution, medium-long term," Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto told reporters earlier on Saturday.

"So, I think we need to accept it.

"It's certainly something on which we need all to better understand to improve."

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