Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has declared that the team now “understand” their early-season issues after a much-improved display in Spain.
With a raft of updates fitted to their W13s, George Russell and Lewis Hamilton featured towards the top of the timesheets throughout Friday’s practice sessions at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, and both reported solid progress.
Unlike in Miami, that pace carried over into qualifying, where Russell and Hamilton claimed fourth and sixth on the grid respectively, sandwiching Sergio Perez’s Red Bull.
With the extreme porpoising seen at previous races now drastically improved, and the deficit to the front of the pack greatly reduced, Wolff expressed satisfaction at Mercedes’ recovery.
“We understand [the bouncing] now,” Wolff confirmed to Sky Sports F1.
Pushed to shed some light on the situation, he said: “It’s simple. It’s all an aerodynamic effect that is created from the floor swinging.
“It was difficult to come to that conclusion in a scientific way, but the team around [Technical Director] Mike Elliott and [Aerodynamics Director] Jarrod Murphy [have] done it and that’s great.”
Mercedes have been on “pause” amid early-season issues
Wolff believes Mercedes can push on and unlock the full potential of the ‘sidepod-less’ W13 at upcoming events.
“I believe that we have done a solid step,” he said of the team’s performance so far this weekend.
“We know how to unlock more and more performance, [but] we’re not yet there, so it’s step by step.
“The other teams have been able to continue to develop their cars whilst we have been a little bit in a pause moment to find out about the bouncing.
“As soon as we can pick up the regular development, as soon as we understand the tyres better now the bouncing is gone, I think we will be catching up.”
Wolff also revealed a particularly positive appraisal of Mercedes’ updates from seven-time World Champion Hamilton.
“He says that the car finally drives like a Formula 1 car, and I think this is the best feedback you can get from a racing driver,” Wolff summed up.