Toto Wolff, Mercedes Team Principal, Baku Street Circuit, 2022

Wolff condemns rivals for ‘disingenuous’ and ‘pitiful’ response to porpoising safety concerns

2022 Canadian Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by and

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff criticised rivals for failing to support moves to control porpoising and bouncing, insisting the problem is not limited to his team.

Wolff hit back angrily at rival team principal Christian Horner’s suggestion that the poor ride some drivers are suffering is only a problem for certain teams and that the FIA should black flag cars for which it became a safety concern.

“This is a sport where you’re trying to either keep a competitive advantage or gain it,” Wolff acknowledged. “But this situation has clearly gone too far.

“All drivers, at least one in every team, have said that they were in pain after Baku, that they had difficulty in keeping the car on track or blurred vision.

“Team principals trying to manipulate what is being said in order to keep the competitive advantage and trying to play political games when the FIA tries to come up with a quick solution to at least put the cars in a better position is disingenuous.”

He was keen to emphasise that the problem does not only lie with his own team’s design. “I’m not only talking about Mercedes, all of the cars suffered in some way or other in Baku and still do here because of the stiffness. All the cars bounce, whatever you want to call it. As a matter of fact, it is a joint problem we are having in Formula 1.

“It’s a fundamental design issue that needs to be solved. We will have long-term effects that we can’t even judge. But at any time this is a safety risk.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

“And then coming up with little manipulations in the background or Chinese whispers or briefing the drivers is just pitiful.”

Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2022
Gallery: 2022 Canadian Grand Prix qualifying day in pictures
Wolff acknowledged that, as Mercedes has particularly suffered from porpoising and been especially vocal on the subject, “of course, people will question whether my position is sincere or not.”

However, he pointed to the comments of drivers from several teams.

“It’s not only our problem if a Red Bull driver says you reach 300 kilometres an hour, which is when the issue comes up, and with these problems ‘you can even lose your vision when braking or not be able to position the car properly’, said Perez,” Wolff pointed out.

“Then you listen to the words of Sainz, you listen to what Riccardo has said, you listen to what Ocon has said, Magnussen, I don’t know who, and both our drivers. This is not a [single] team’s problem. This is a design issue of ground effect cars that need to needs to be tackled before we have a situation, whatever it is.”

He rejected claims the problem can easily be solved by raising ride heights. “It is not just by putting the cars up, because putting the cars up doesn’t solve the stiffness of the inherent characteristic, of the aerodynamic characteristics.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2022 Canadian Grand Prix

Browse all 2022 Canadian Grand Prix articles

Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....
Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

53 comments on “Wolff condemns rivals for ‘disingenuous’ and ‘pitiful’ response to porpoising safety concerns”

  1. He’s such a hypocrite, F1 will be so much better off when this bitter person is gone!

    1. Charlie Racing
      19th June 2022, 12:54

      I have to agree. F1 as a whole is much better off when the tentacles of Wolff are not all over the sport.

    2. THIS! Wholeheartedly agree.

    3. Look at the facts rather than the man, how can be he hypocrite, at least on this matter, when more than half of the grid are complaining about the same issue ? even a driver from Red Bull who shrugged off Mercedes claims ?

    4. I agree, his charisma level is as high as a diamond mine in South Africa, but I guess we need people like him too. I’m not a fan of any particular driver or a team, I just like F1, but none of us are entirely neutral either and that would be boring. It’s nice to have someone to like or dislike. This man I dislike and respect at the same time and at least I’m curious to see what his next move is going to be, how he’s going to react to crisis or success. I saw him being full of himself and arrogant after many good years, I’ve got to see him lowering himself when things go sideways. I don’t care for his personal life etc. (like things in Drive to survive), but his competitiveness is good for the sport. Bad thing is to give him too much influence (for example to prevent any new team for joining the sport indefinitely), but to be fair not everything worked in his favour either (like removal of DAS, “party mode” etc.). Either way, in sport it’s good to have someone to dislike too, for more drama.

    5. Suppose if you want to remove hypocrites, let’s just go all out and remove all team principles and all the drivers. Let’s just go further and remove the FIA. Let’s just get rid of F1 altogether then. Suppose with no motor sport it will be better of as no one will be a hypocrite then.

    6. Formula 1 is a hyper competitive and a very highly regulated sport, so the incentive to gain an edge, however slight, is very high.

      Political manoeuvring is an integral part of eeking out an advantage, and if you aren’t on the ball as a team boss, others will be and your team could lose out as a result. It’s a game they’re all aware of, and very good at. I’m no Mercedes fan, but Wolff is a superb example of how to play the game for the benefit of his team, and he deserves considerable respect for it in my opinion.

    7. “He’s such a hypocrite, F1 will be so much better off when this bitter person is gone!”

      If in last year’s last race the roles were reversed and same decisions were made, do you think this season would have started at all from horner’s and rb’s never ending lawsuits and bluffs of removing themselves from f1?

      and hypocrites redbul people are (except perez, he has shown good characters so far and not much bs)…
      oil burn bans mid season, fricks bans, das oppositions, party mode bans, rear wing personal inspections… redbul are one to talk about hypocrisy…

      1. @mysticus oh both played poorly last year, but the most striking images I have from 2021:

        1: Toto running to the stewards office (or wherever) because he was upset that someone else was winning
        2: NO MIKEY NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

        Horner might say a lot of nonsense but he doesn’t actively throw tantrums.

        1. “Horner might say a lot of nonsense but he doesn’t actively throw tantrums”

          when did you start watching f1? past 3 races?
          if that was redbul in that situation last year, i bet you millions that helmut marko, horner, and max all would end up in human rights court or called the russians to get rid of masi and nuke f1 hq. so speak wisely, horner is the most hypocrite and vocal person on the grid with the wittiest sharpest words when it comes to complain dept!

        2. You mean Christian Horner, who threatened to leave the sport because his engine wasn’t good enough, even though he nearly won that year’s WDC, and won the next 4 WDC and WCC’s? That Horner??

          The man’s a perfect example of a human whine. He rarely says anything that ISN’T designed to manipulate things in favor of his team.

          Which is why he and Helmut are a perfect match.

    8. I think you’re right. When are you leaving?

    9. Yes, without even reading, just hearing wolff condemning other people’s answers is a joke considering what he said about their dominance himself.

  2. What an odious hypocritical man. Looking forward to the day when Toto isn’t in the sport anymore

  3. If it can’t be solved by raising the ride height Toto, or any other aerodynamic or engineering method, you still have the option of literally limiting your driver’s ability to hit a top speed high enough for the porpoising to occur. So perhaps you can try that. Given how much you care about your drivers well being, that seems like the logical move to prevent worse, don’t you think?

    1. OK– brief lesson. Porpoising is an aerodynamic effect. Baku was bouncing, due to suspension oscillation.

      Come back when you understand the difference.

      1. Both phenomenon can occur simultaneously. Loaded with downforce on a straight the car can react to bumps by bottoming out, “stalling’ the air underneath the car…

        So maybe you need to study the physics of the whole problem so more too.

  4. Agreed. Always reminds me of a school bully who wants to take his ball back if he is loosing at football.

  5. So now he’s basically saying that all (well, most) teams made poor design/setup choices, so the rules should be changed…
    I’m not sure whether that’s better or worse than Mercedes simply wanting the rules changed for their own benefit.

    And sorry, Toto – raising and softening the cars does go a long way to reducing the symptoms of the problem, and even providing solutions to the cause.
    You just want to make sure that everyone else has to do it too….

    1. “So now he’s basically saying that all (well, most) teams made poor design/setup choices, so the rules should be changed”
      these are not design issues all together. all of them suffer it is not like some doesnt suffer at all! all of them suffer the issue, some to more and some to lesser degree but they all suffer! in the past, to mitigate the issue various balance devices/systems were used to dampen/nullify the effects… now it is banned, it is impossible to remove the issue without compromising so much! because redbul are suffering less (read “less” not “0” issue) so everyone should suffer? great logic!
      some sort of dampeners or active suspension will have to be introduced, or this is not gonna end well.

      1. it is impossible to remove the issue without compromising so much!

        Than that’s what those teams ‘suffering’ have to do, @mysticus.
        The more of a drama it is for them, the more they have to compromise.

        It is great logic. Every team built their car to the same rules, and for some it’s barely an issue. For others who made their car almost undrivable, then that is on them. They need to improve it themselves, not pull other teams back to meet them.

        some sort of dampeners or active suspension will have to be introduced, or this is not gonna end well.

        Forcing in an already removed and outlawed system that most teams will have to engineer especially to ‘fix’ a problem that can be solved via other means is not ending well. That’s just an F1 ‘solution’ where spending more money brings better results.
        If reducing porpoising means having some slower cars, then that’s racing. For the most part, it would still be better racing that it ever was with active suspension before.

        We’ve just ended an 8 season long era of one team dominating while telling the others to do pretty much exactly the same thing. “Build a better car, we aren’t slowing down just for you.”

  6. He does understand he can give up some performance to raise his floor for the “safety” of his drivers? The same disingenuous he complains about, absolutely laughable. Hypocrite right there.

    1. right, like redbul are so straight forward. horner didnt say if the roles were reversed, he would instruct his drivers to complain just as much (coming from redbul, they would 2x more)

  7. I’m used to Toto being a hypocrite but I didn’t expect him to be delusional to this point. He’s basically triggered by the fact that Horner and other team principles are doing the exact same thing he has been doing over the last 8 years.

  8. “Trying to play political games when the FIA tries to come up with a quick solution to at least put the cars in a better position is disingenuous.”

    Have a word with your Chief Technical Officer then. The FIA tried to come up with a quick solution and he suggested they’d just lie about results to help out other teams whilst saying Mercedes failed the test.

  9. Coventry Climax
    19th June 2022, 13:35

    I could have given him the blueprint for it; this reaction is exactly what I expected from him.
    Just hope the FIA doesn’t fall for it.
    But then, over the years, I don’t see much reason to have much faith in the FIA.

  10. Wolff wants to get rid of the ground effect because mercedes were easily the masters of the old flat floor cars, also it is widely believed that their design is focused on aero. The porpoising is not a problem for mercedes, in catalunya winter testing the merc was porpoising just like ferrari was but since then they have stiffened up the car and now the drivers can’t extract the performance because the car is running too stiff. The ride quality is what is destroying their performance.

  11. A lot of complains about Wolff, but no comment addresses his point: drivers from several teams, including RB, are complaining about porpoising. Has Wolff bribed Pérez so a made a comment favoring Mercedes? What about Sainz? Or Magnussen? Or Ocon?
    If every sphere of influence is concerned (RB, Ferrari, Mercedes, Alpine), maybe, just maybe, there is more to it than just political games.

    But in the end, I’m sure fans watching the races from their living rooms know better than the drivers themselves.

    1. @x303 exactly my thought in reply to “superman”, some people are so much carried out by the hate of a person or a team that they completely overlook the facts.

    2. Exactly. Ready to jump on the merc team principal, completely ignoring his point. The guy who’s with the crew working on the car, telling you raising the ride height isn’t fixing the issue, but everyone wants to ignore that part cause they know more than the mechanics.

      1. The Merc cars are still dragging their bums on the ground along every straight, even when they’re on wets.
        If that’s raising the ride height, then they have a vastly different concept of it than most people do.

    3. +1

      Best are those of the armchair experts, who address their comments directly to Toto or HAM. The smartest ones…

      1. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
        19th June 2022, 14:18

        Coming from the clown who last season went completely nuts against Verstappen and Horner after every race…

        1. This from the upside down clown from the upside down land that gave us Masi, another upside down clown.

    4. And sorry, Toto – raising and softening the cars does go a long way to reducing the symptoms of the problem, and even providing solutions to the cause.

      Does this not address Toto’s comments?
      Other teams can do it too.

      What Toto (and Merc fans) aren’t acknowledging is that all the teams know why it’s bumpy, they just don’t want to sacrifice performance to compensate for it. Cars running on the ground, stiffer suspension than ever, reduced suspension travel and lower profile tyres are all going to make it feel bumpier in any and every car – even without aerodynamically stalling the floor and creating porpoising.
      While the drivers are still willingly getting into the cars, the teams don’t feel any urgent need to fix it – unless they can do so by potentially slowing their competitors down with them.
      Which is exactly why we are hearing so much of this from Mercedes, and not from Red Bull or Ferrari. This is as political as ever.

    5. @x303 From what I can see SP’s quotes cited by TW are from early April, about what CAN happen with porpoising, and so he(TW) is trying to manipulate a drivers words the same way he is accusing Horner of doing. Is SP complaining to this day that his team has built him a dangerous car?

      I don’t believe for a second that TW would behave any differently if it was his cars that were in RBR’s position and RBR were the worst bouncers.

      TW complains about the stiffness and the aerodynamic effects and I don’t see that going away any time soon. Anyway what is his point? To point out what CH is saying? Which is what he himself would be saying if the shoe were in the other foot? And ultimately the complainers have gotten their way anyway, no matter how one wants to interpret what Horner has been saying. TW is now forced to do something about their issue by TD. Is that why he just wants to point out his opinion that Horner is being disingenuine? Because he’s sore that now he has to do something about punishing his drivers by making what he has told LH is a #%^box?

      TW must really want an acceleration of reg changes for this season, because without them he is not going to be helping his drivers feel more comfortable any time soon. So all he can do is complain about Horner who happens to be on top and happens to be suffering from porpoising the least. As if TW would want mid-season changes if he were in CH’s shoes.

      1. Hey @robbie!
        So, we have various drivers from various teams, with teams outside of Mercedes’ sphere of influence backing TW. SP may not be fully backing Wolff, but he is not flat out contradicting him like Verstappen did. I thing my point stand here.
        TW is working to gain an advantage, CH is working not to lose one: this is professional sport in a nutshell, but it doesn’t contradict the point about the danger of porpoising.

        In the end, I don’t pretend to be always right, but in this case at least each party has arguments, and it’s interesting to compare them.

        By the way I think we can do without the whole

        I’m used to Toto being a hypocrite

        or

        Hypocrite right there.

        or

        Always reminds me of a school bully who wants to take his ball back if he is loosing at football.

        or

        Always reminds me of a school bully who wants to take his ball back if he is loosing at football.

        or

        He’s such a hypocrite, F1 will be so much better off when this bitter person is gone!

        etc.

        1. @x303 Fair comment. It is because I am fully aware that each side is going to speak to favour themselves that I don’t consider them hypocritical. I don’t question that porpoising can be dangerous, but I just think the danger is being overblown. It can be dangerous if it is extreme and is happening at all tracks, but that is not the case. It is dangerous for small bits of time for some teams and they can do things to dial it out.

  12. I’d buy him a mirror, but he’d just blame the mirror.

  13. Wolff gave the order. Now the propaganda put out by the clueless British media is to say that THEY are the bad guys, they are the enemy and Mercedes are striving for a better F1.

    I hope they never win anything in F1 again and this Austrian takes his suitcases and leaves the world of MOTORSPORTS once and for all. Years of manipulation and buying fans with slogans, populism is enough. Get out!

  14. “And then coming up with little manipulations in the background or Chinese whispers or briefing the drivers is just pitiful.”

    I love Toto’s reference. 🤣 I can already hear how he says this.

  15. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
    19th June 2022, 14:17

    “This is a sport where you’re trying to either keep a competitive advantage or gain it,” Wolff acknowledged. “But this situation has clearly gone too far.

    Grasping at straws here Toto. Just because you missed the boat completely (but at least you can claim your ticking certain quota boxes, which as we all know is very important in 2022) doesn’t mean it’s gone ‘ too far’. What a clown

  16. “racefans” it states on the address of this wonderful site.
    Tragic that such vicious comments & remarks come from more than 1 supposed fans of F1.
    I appreciate everyone on here’s entitled to their opinion.

    1. @wildbiker – Wow, if you think this is bad, wait til they post an article about Horner….

  17. It’s amusing how quickly fans change.

    Everything that fans say about Toto, Mercedes & Hamilton are exactly the same things they were saying about Horner, Red Bull & Vettel a decade ago & Todt. Ferrari & Schumacher the decade before that because modern fans of the past 20 years clearly hate anyone that hasalot of success.

    If Red Bull & Verstappen have a long period of success over the next few years i bet fans will turn on the as a lot of success is clearly unacceptable in todays show over sport F1.

    I remember a decade ago fans here and elsewhere saying Horner should go away, That Red Bull wouldn’t be missed & that Vettel didn’t deserve his success. Yet now Horner is been seen as right, Red Bull the savior of F1 & Vettel is more popular and seen as a positive voice in F1.

    The younger generation of fans are so fickle and don’t aeem to ever want to look at the bigger picture because all they care about now is there precious quantity over quality show.

    1. I agree wholeheartedly. Too many haters, jealous of people being successful. Praise the underdog but if they become successful then they are the worst. They must go….

      1. You say ‘hater,’ I say critic.
        You say jealously, I say community-spirited.

        When the underdog becomes successful, they are no longer the underdog. Their achievements can be respected, but need not be fawned over. Leave it for the glory hunters.
        Someone else inevitably takes their place as underdog, and gets the same praise as a result.

    2. Speaking of certain ‘fans’ who don’t want to look at the bigger picture…
      It’d be great if you stopped pigeonholing everyone with ageism PeterG. Not only is age not always relevant to people’s opinions, but you completely ignore everyone’s individuality with such statements.

      You’re correct – few sports fans (of any sport) like domination and predictability. It shows a lack of competition and depth – and is not just dull and monotonous, but also (resultingly) highly commercially damaging to the marketing businesses that most sports are now. Certainly all professional, televised sports.
      Wasn’t so much the case back when (presumably) you were a lad – cars were cigar-shaped death-traps and had only the driver’s name and number on them, and were painted in the designated colour of the team’s country. The media coverage resulted in a few magazine articles with a write-up and some photos, but wasn’t published until a couple of weeks after the event…. The sporting world has changed drastically since then, and has the rest of the world around it.

      Red Bull is certainly not seen by objective viewers as the saviour of anything, and in-fact are just as self-centred, distasteful and political as they’ve ever been – rivalled only by Mercedes. Vettel is becoming more popular because of what he says and does outside of the race car, not what he does in it – which, if you’ve noticed, has been nothing spectacular for quite a long time. And that’s OK.

      Quantity over quality is totally debatable. When has F1 provided quality? I’d say it’s been exceptionally rare throughout my 35+ years watching it, but that’s just my opinion.
      At least quantity brings a higher chance of quality, as, statistically, good races become more frequent.
      As always, F1 has a lot going for it, but it also has a lot wrong with it. About as much of each as it’s always had, IMO – as each change they’ve made appeals to some but turns off others.
      One thing’s for sure – if F1 doesn’t move with their audience, they will inevitably suffer greatly.

  18. Jelle van der Meer (@)
    19th June 2022, 17:12

    Well Toto Wolff is the master of being disingenuous, all he does is lie.
    It is his decision to sacrifice his own drivers health over performance.

    Toto Wolff is a cancer in F1 and should be removed ASAP.

  19. Im disappointed and disgusted by the posts on this site. There are too many people who make personal unwarranted attacks on people whether in F1 or as a fan. Instead of discussing or debating the issues. This is degrading and indicates the jealousy, intolerance and very childish nature of many using this site.

    1. I wouldn’t be disappointed – it’s just what the community on this site has become. The lack of moderation on here has lead to most of the good posters who used to be on here leaving and we’re now left mainly with kids shouting at each other. If you go on any Red Bull or Mercedes related articles, it’s just childish insults everywhere.

      The articles on this site are decent but the comments section is only worth it for the laughs. If you want a decent discussion about F1, you’re much better off on Reddit. This is no better than YouTube comments.

    2. “Personal unwarranted attacks on people” rather than “discussing or debating the issues” is more or less what Wolff is doing in this article though. Accusing other team principals of being disingenuous or even “pitiful” simply because they don’t agree with him.

      The poor state of online F1 discourse owes much to the way in which many of the sport’s protagonists conduct themselves. And Mercedes have done more than most to poison the well.

  20. Because Mercedes can’t spend their way out of their own mess they are trying to bring the other teams down to their level. Before the regulation changes when they were so dominant the Token system restricted other teams from development and catching up. As they say what goes around comes around and I love seeing his sour face when his cars are struggling

Comments are closed.