Canadian Grand Prix: FIA outlines plans to tackle ‘porpoising’ after drivers raise concerns

Hamilton finished fourth in Azerbaijan but described his experience in the 51-lap race as ‘painful’

Formula 1’s governing body, the FIA, said it was taking action for safety reasons to reduce the high-speed rebounds that have plagued drivers this season.

The FIA ​​now has issued a technical directiveexternal link to teams explaining how they plan to combat “porpoising”.

The ninth round of the 2022 season takes place in Canada this weekend.

In a statement, the governing body said it had decided to intervene after “consultation with its doctors in the interests of driver safety”.

He added: “In a sport where competitors regularly drive at speeds in excess of 300km/h, it is considered that a driver’s full concentration must be focused on that task and that excessive fatigue or pain experienced by a driver could have significant consequences if it results in a loss of concentration.

“In addition, the FIA ​​is concerned about the immediate physical impact on the health of the drivers, a number of whom have reported back pain following recent events.”

“Porpoising” is caused by the floor of the car being sucked so close to the ground at a speed that downforce is temporarily lost until the ride height of the car increases, before lowering it back down.

It’s a phenomenon that has returned to F1 for the first time in 40 years this season following new car designs introduced to bring racing closer together.

Initially, the FIA’s measures will focus on examining the floorboards and pads under the car “both in terms of design and observed wear” and efforts to calculate an “acceptable level of vertical oscillations” – in other words, how much the car is allowed to bounce.

He will then arrange a technical meeting with the teams to review the data and form a plan to reduce the problem in the long term.

What did the drivers say?

After slowly getting out of his car and rubbing his back at the end of last weekend’s race in Baku, Hamilton wrote on Instagram that the aggressive rebound was “100 times worse” than it looks but that he was “motivated to keep pushing” and already felt better. .

It came after Hamilton’s team-mate George Russell said in build-up to the race in Azerbaijan that safety was becoming a concern over bouncing cars.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz has previously questioned the long-term effects of the rebound on health, adding: “How much should a driver pay for his back and his health in an F1 career with this kind of motoring philosophy? “

And in an interview with BBC Sport earlier this week, Alfa Romeo driver Valtteri Bottas warned that ‘porpoising’ was “getting quite serious” and thought it could hurt drivers.

He added: “[I’m] I don’t know if that’s sustainable in the future and we’re starting to see driver injuries just from driving the cars – that’s not how it should be.”

Meanwhile, McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo said the bouncing many drivers experienced was “not normal or comfortable”.

“The position we’re sitting in the car, we don’t have a lot of room to move, so we’re not prepared for impacts,” added the Australian. “Whether it depends on a rule change or how the teams prepare the cars, I’m not 100% sure. But I wouldn’t like anyone to suffer unnecessary injury or pain.”

However, Ricciardo’s team-mate Lando Norris has previously suggested that teams suffering from the worst rebound – such as Mercedes – have a range of options to reduce the problem, including “raising the rear ride height by 20mm “.

It’s a view shared by Red Bull team boss Christian Horner, who says that “the easiest way is to raise the car”, but the teams most affected are reluctant to do so due to the effect it would have on performance.

“Every team has a choice,” added Horner. “If it was a real safety issue on the grid it would have to be looked into, but if it only affects isolated teams it is something the team should potentially deal with.”

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