“One or two teams have completely missed the project and will have a very painful season”. It was January and James Allison, at the presentation of the W13, could not have imagined that his prediction would hit the Mercedes. Today the W13 is an objectively wonderful and innovative machine, but unsuitable for high speeds. In short, a non-machine, a genius that became a “shitbox” in just a few months, a box of ems, as Toto Wolff defined it last Sunday, apologizing over the radio to Lewis Hamilton.
Formula 1, the paradox
The paradox is that today the German star, despite being tempted to throw the W13 overboard, needs it: it is not possible to abandon the project and throw itself into 2023, starting from the blank sheet, without first understanding what it does. jump this car like a kangaroo, smashing Hamilton and George Russell’s back. The so-called porpoising, which we can serenely call hopping, was resolved fairly early on by Ferrari – not entirely, but well enough – and by other teams, while Red Bull hardly suffers from it. It could be canceled by lifting the car off the ground but the unsustainable price of cornering instability, since the advantages of the ground effect would be lost. The phenomenon, already seen on the so-called wing cars of the seventies and eighties, breaks not only the backs of some drivers, but the entire Formula 1. The teams that suffer from it direct their jeremiads to the FIA asking for an intervention for safety reasons while , from the height of its technical superiority, Red Bull reacts with cynicism: «It does not concern all the teams but only some, so why penalize those who worked best? The regulation allows the cars to be raised … »A line that, from the point of view of the leaders, is flawless.
F1, the alarms
Meanwhile, Hamilton, who lost sensitivity to his buttocks for several minutes with the shots in Baku (“I have a cold seat,” he warned on the radio), then took more than a minute to get out of his W13, and Russell as a representative of the GPDA, the association of F1 drivers, has chosen an alarmist line: “Having an accident in these conditions, even a serious one, is only a matter of time”. Pierre Gasly who runs with the Alpha Tauri was not afraid of going against the interests of the Red Bull parent team: «The jolts have a direct impact on the spine. If the FIA does not intervene, we will all walk with a cane at thirty (Hamilton is no longer in time … ed), but in short, I don’t think they want us to choose between performance and health ».
The real distinction is instead between more and less successful machines. Returning to Mercedes it is possible that Allison – moved to the more strategic and less operational role of Chief Technical Officer – will be recalled to the front line. His alternation with Mike Elliott which took place eleven months ago has dramatically coincided – whatever the real causes – with the interruption of the most successful technical cycle ever.
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