experts warn. Most drivers agree. Safety first. And yet, there’s a bang: in the middle of it all are the team bosses from Mercedes and Red Bull again. It’s all about Formula 1 car jumps.
The discussion about driver safety and health becomes a Zoff topic formula 1. And once again, Mercedes and Red Bull in particular collide, the former industry leader and the current are once again on a verbal confrontation course.
“This is a sport where you try to maintain or gain a competitive advantage, but in this situation it is clearly going too far,” said Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff.
He has colleagues “who try to manipulate what is said to maintain a competitive edge and try to play political games.” He did not directly name the names. It is clear that Christian Horner should feel that Red Bull is reaching out to him. “It would be unfair to change the rule halfway through the year because the team misses its goal,” he said. He sees only one car that has problems – the Mercedes was meant.
Marko: “There is no need for action”
Motor sports consultant Helmut Marko also agreed with Red Bull’s rhetoric. “There is no need for action. If you have a problem, you need to lift the car.” And the star driver Max Verstappen even expressed his opinion: “There are many sports where you harm your body. And if you finish your career, you are no longer the same as you were in your 20s. That’s how it is,” said the 24-year-old Dutchman. Football players have problems with their knees. “We shouldn’t over-dramatize what’s happening at the moment,” said Verstappen, the world championship leader.
But the opinion among drivers is different. That’s why they turned to the International Automobile Federation Fia. We are talking about dangerous car jumping, a phenomenon caused by new aerodynamic regulations. The cars are pushed to the ground, there is a standstill, they descend and push back. This is repeated several times per second. And exactly where drivers travel the fastest.
Long-term damage to the spine
“In a sport where competitors routinely drive at speeds in excess of 300 km/h, there is an expectation that the driver’s full focus must be on the task at hand,” the statement said. “In the interest of safety”, the FIA requires racing teams to “reduce or eliminate this phenomenon”. This decision was made “after consultation with doctors”. The so-called technical directive reached some only on the way to Canada. The Grand Prix should now become a test run, data will be collected on the cars.
“What must not happen is that pilots are exposed to these heavy loads too often,” sports scientist Ingo Froboese of the German Sports University in Cologne told Bild am Sonntag. The health expert added: “Otherwise there could be long-term damage to the spine, which could force drivers to end their careers early or cause permanent pain after an active career.”
McLaren’s Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo stressed that it was a risk that was out of their control: “I think we probably have enough risk in our sport already.”
“Guys, bouncing is really bad”
It’s about possible concussions, spinal problems, pain in the car during the race, it’s about perception behind the wheel in a sport that is already dangerous. Mercedes’ George Russell said he couldn’t even read the pit board at last week’s race in Baku. Teammate Lewis Hamilton was feeling a little down in the days that followed.
Only with great effort did he get out of the Silver Arrow after the ordeal. Headaches were also significantly more common than months ago, he said in Montreal. “I just took some painkillers. I hope I don’t have any concussions,” said the 37-year-old Briton.
“It cannot be that we drivers suffer short-term or long-term damage,” emphasized Sebastian Vettel. The four-time world champion added: “We can’t do this for four or five years. Health comes before performance.”
It was also significant that Ferrari’s World Cup competitor Charles Leclerc agreed with Verstappen. “I don’t fully agree with that. It’s the team’s responsibility to give me a car to drive,” he said. Equally remarkable was his teammate Carlos Sainz’s radio message later in the Ferrari pit: “Guys, the jumping is really bad.”
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