Mercedes mechanics broke Formula One’s curfew on Wednesday night as they looked to fix the porpoising issues that continued to plague Lewis Hamilton’s car. The W13 looked quicker at Silverstone on Friday with the Briton finishing both practice sessions in second position however the bouncing issues were not fixed.
Mercedes have struggled with the phenomena of porpoising this season as they have been unable to adapt to new regulations that saw a return of ground effect to encourage closer racing.
The Silver Arrows have struggled as a result, languishing third in the Constructors Championship despite dominating the last eight years in the sport. Hamilton has been affected particularly badly with the bouncing causing the seven-time to suffer from back problems.
Now it has come to light that Mercedes mechanics have been working overtime to try and correct the problems that have blighted their car. The technical delegate’s report has revealed that the team’s personnel were still working on the car during the 13 hour curfew period on Wednesday night.
The regulations are designed to limit the hours engineers are allowed to labour over the car in order to ensure that they are not overworked. However, the team will face no punishment for the breach as each team is allowed eight exceptions from the rule during the season and it was only the second time it had been broken.
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Mercedes were not the only team to break curfew, with Haas working on their car late into Wednesday night and Ferrari becoming the third team to flout the rule, working beyond the allocated time on Thursday night. Both teams will also receive no punishment as they are within their exemptions.
Mercedes’ work was to introduce a wide range of updates for Silverstone with a new floor and wing among the most notable developments. It was hoped that upgrades, in addition to the smooth surface at the track, would help reduce the bouncing issues however this does not appear to be the case. Hamilton reported on team radio that the car was ‘bouncing a lot at high speeds’ during the early stages of second practice.
The Brackley based team are hopeful of being more successful this weekend. Speaking ahead of the Grand Prix weekend Mercedes technical director James Allison said: “Everyone in our factory doesn’t dare say it but we are cautiously optimistic of having a more competitive weekend than some of those we’ve had of later.
“I think some characteristics of this circuit will suit this car but we don’t have a car capable of winning from the front yet. But I think as long as we can get the car tamed through Maggots, Becketts and around the faster of the corners then I think we have a decent chance of a competitive showing this weekend.”
Despite the bouncing continuing it does appear that Mercedes look more competitive this weekend and this may be attributed to the extra work put in by their mechanics.