Mercedes intrigued to see impact of Spa floor changes on Red Bull & Ferrari

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Mercedes are intrigued to see how a technical directive coming at the Belgian Grand Prix will impact Red Bull and Ferrari.

At Spa, the governing body will finally implement a new vertical oscillation metric that was created after the Canadian GP aimed at reducing the porpoising effect drivers are dealing with in the new ground effect 2022 Formula 1 cars.

During their investigation, however, it was discovered some teams, thought to be Ferrari and Red Bull, are using special floor tricks that allow the plank under the car to flex more than intended and also protect the skid blocks that are used by the FIA to ensure the plank doesn't wear more than permitted during a race.

Leclerc Floor FrenchGP

As a result, more stringent tests and more thorough checks are to be undertaken from Spa, which Mercedes believes could reduce their rivals' performance.

“There’s no doubt Ferrari and Red Bull have pushed the regulations in that regard, and we’ve sort of respected it as the regulation was intended,” George Russell told Sky Sports in Hungary

“But there are no guarantees it would bring them closer to us. We know if it was on our car it would make us slower, but every car is different.

“But it’s not going to help them, that’s for sure.”

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The new checks are also a relief to Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, who thinks they are long overdue.

"There was a regulatory change or like a technical directive to make clear what the FIA wishes to not see anymore at Spa and in particular on the skids," the Austrian explained.

"I think it was a coincidence that the FIA spotted it in one of the races, and made it very clear that this was not on.

"They [Red Bull] will probably only need to run the car a little bit higher at the front on the bib [of the floor] than they used to.

"I think this TD should have been brought into place once it was discovered four races ago, so the argument of 'is it fair to have brought it into the middle of the season?' is the wrong one.

"It should have been introduced when it was discovered because it's clearly much more than a loophole."


It's unlikely any performance impact will change the championship, as Max Verstappen and Red Bull hold big leads in both the Drivers' and Constructors'.

But Russell is hopeful Mercedes will be regularly fighting for victories over the second half of the season.

“Max and Red Bull are cruising,” he said. “I think Max and Charles [Leclerc] are on a similar level at the moment.

“I really feel for Charles because he’s doing a superb job and he’s been on the receiving end of a lot of bad luck.

"Max and Red Bull were just absolutely solid week in, week out and we’ve seen for the last couple of race weekends, they can just bring the car home and pick up the pieces.


“But there’s no doubt we are making progress as a team. We were finishing almost a minute behind the race winner at the start of the season, now it’s 10 seconds in the last couple of races.

"If we can continue on that path we will definitely be in the hunt.

"Spa will be interesting with some changes to some little regulations, which may bring other teams towards us.

"I think we as a team have a lot of confidence in ourselves and faith that we are doing a great job and there’s no reason we can’t be in that mix.”