Red Bull reject 'rubbish' Mercedes claim over illegal floor tricks

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Red Bull has rejected claims by Mercedes over the use of illegal floor tricks as "total rubbish".

Since Baku, the FIA has been working to establish a Technical Directive, that will come into effect from the Belgian Grand Prix, aimed at limiting the bouncing or porpoising drivers are subjected to in the car.

This was a result of growing concerns over the health and safety of drivers, with Lewis Hamilton seen clutching his back after the race in Baku and Pierre Gasly claiming drivers would need "canes at 30 years old" if the levels of bouncing continued.


To that end, a new vertical oscillation metric has been established that will be enforced from Spa and changes to the floors have been announced for 2023.

However, during their meetings, attention has also been drawn to how some teams are allegedly using trick floors to limit porpoising and bouncing while gaining an indirect aerodynamic benefit.

The theory is Red Bull and Ferrari particularly have found ways to allow the floor and plank area to flex more than the permitted 2mm towards the rear, where the FIA doesn't measure flex or wear.

Additionally, those teams are claimed to have their cut skid blocks around three holes at the front of the floor - where the FIA does measure plank flex and thickness - into "pieces of cake", with some disappearing into the underbody as the car hits the ground to prevent wear.

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To eliminate this, the FIA is set to increase its measurement of the periphery around the holes to 75% from Spa while also increasing the stiffness of skid blocks and the plank.

Reacting to the revelation of these alleged tricks, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said in Canada: "What's in the regulation and what the intent of the regulations is pretty clear.

"I mean, there's is no argument why that could deflect more than what's in the regs. So a bit of a surprise to say the least: more a shocker."

Later asked if he thought Red Bull and Ferrari were breaching the rules by using these concepts, he added: “Yeah I think so.

"Well, I don’t know [who]. I haven’t been able to squeeze the skids of certain teams. We are looking at our competitors. 

“Probably I would have wished that the TD comes in a little bit earlier but it is what it is, it comes in at Spa and after Spa, we won’t see that anymore.”

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It is known that Ferrari is making changes to the floor to comply with the new directive, but Red Bull are standing their ground.

“That is total rubbish, total rubbish! We are getting issues mixed up here," team boss Christian Horner stated.

“Maybe [Wolff] is referring to cars that are around him at the moment. I have no idea. We have absolutely no issues or concerns on our floor.”

The Red Bull chief indicated after Austria that there will be no changes needed to the RB18 to meet the new directive, while driver Max Verstappen actually threw the argument back at Mercedes.

"Well, what I don't quite understand, is that they're complaining about the flexible floors while theirs is the most flexible," he claimed.

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Finally, Horner also questioned the entire point of the FIA directive as the porpoising and bouncing issues have eased in recent races.

“The technical directive is focused on bouncing, porpoising, which only certain cars have struggled with,” Horner explained.

“It is due for further discussion in the technical working group, which is the correct forum for it because, as we saw at Silverstone, no cars were really affected by it.

“Is it the duty of the competitor to make sure the car is safe? Or the duty of the FIA to make sure the competitor runs their car safely?”