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Formula 1 Italian GP

Norris having "lots" of back issues with current F1 cars

McLaren driver Lando Norris says he has had "lots of issues" with his back since Formula 1 moved back to running ground-effect cars at the start of the 2022 championship.

Lando Norris, McLaren

The current generation of cars must be run very low to the ground and be very stiffly sprung for the underfloor venturi tunnels and floor edges to generate the best downforce levels when working in conjunction with the rear diffuser.

This has in turn changed how drivers feel their machines traversing the course compared to the ultra-high-downforce aerodynamic design era where Norris made his F1 debut in 2019.

Drivers are also unable to attack kerbs in the same way as before with the ground-effect cars without them becoming unsettled.

Most famously, the porpoising phenomenon across 2022 caused several drivers to complain about back problems - Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton struggling to climb from his W13 after last year's Baku race.

Discussing the idea of future F1 designs perhaps having softer rides ahead of this weekend's Italian Grand Prix, Norris said he "would love" such a change.

"I wouldn't say no, if we could have softer cars or something that makes it a bit more like it was in 2019, 2020, 2021," he added.

"I've struggled a lot with my back. I've had to make quite a few seats and do a lot more training just to try and strengthen my back, my lower back.

"I've had a lot of issues over the last 12 months or so. Similar to Carlos [Sainz].

Press Conference, Lando Norris, McLaren

Press Conference, Lando Norris, McLaren

Photo by: FIA Pool

"I guess everyone's had different things and struggles with different bits and cars are different and whatever.

"A bit of it including the car and how stiff it is. I've struggled quite a bit."

The drivers speaking alongside Norris in the pre-event press conference at Monza – Nico Hulkenberg, Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez – said they had not suffered similar back issues since the start of 2022.

Alfa Romeo driver Valtteri Bottas joked: "My back was already destroyed in 2015 [when he raced for Williams], so there's no feeling anymore, so it doesn't matter!"

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He added: "Everyone will always search for performance versus comfort. You take it, even with not being so comfortable in the car.

"And that would definitely be improved somehow by the regulations, not by the teams – because teams wouldn't go softer if it's slower."

Leclerc, whose Ferrari squad had one of the 2022 cars that porpoised most dramatically, claimed: "Even the porpoising wasn't something that was really disturbing me – I don't know why."

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