FIA porpoising intervention as “band-aid”


The governing body announced ahead of this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix that it will measure the severity of porpoising on each car to gather data on what can be done to reduce the risk of a kickback causing health problems to drivers. drivers.

The porpoising problem has plagued teams since the new ground effect cars were first tested earlier this year, although some like Mercedes have had a tougher time than others including Red Bull, McLaren and Alpine.


But the potential for repeated bouncing and surface impact to cause short- and long-term injuries to drivers has been in the news after recent bumpy street races in Monaco and Azerbaijan.

Particularly at the Baku race, the high-speed setup meant the cars hit the ground more often on its long straights, which meant the cars’ suspensions could give less support than at other events.

From the start of testing for the Montreal race, the FIA ​​will monitor telemetry data, and then the physical results of porpoising under each team’s car, to establish a metric that will establish what are considered unacceptable levels and force teams that are outside this measure. make changes to reduce it.

While Russell acknowledged the FIA’s decision was “good to see them front and center and act immediately” following extensive feedback from drivers in Baku, the Grand Price said “what was brought forward this weekend” is “more of a band-aid than the the solution”.

He added: “We have to wait and see [for the results of the FIA data gathering]. I think even for the teams that suffer the least, it’s still an incredibly aggressive and bumpy race.

“The FIA ​​has full access to all the vertical acceleration loads we go through and that is way beyond what you would safely expect.

“So bigger conversations are definitely needed moving forward and where we go from here.”

Speaking alongside Russell at the press conference ahead of testing in Canada, Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc expressed a sense of opposition to the FIA’s decision to act on porpoising via a new technical directive as it didn’t find this to be a direct problem in the F175.

“I don’t quite agree on my end,” Leclerc said. “I feel like it’s the team’s responsibility to give me a car that can be driven.

“So far I haven’t had any particular problems with it. Yes, it’s stiffer than last year’s car.

“Whether it’s undriveable or very hard for me, I don’t think it is, or at least personally. On our side, we have found solutions to improve things.”

Charles Leclerc Ferrari

Photo by: Francois Trembley / Motorsport Images

Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll raised concerns that the severe bouncing and impact on drivers’ bodies is “not sustainable for 23 races”, and that for years to come in the new era of F1 ground effect rules “if it’s going to be like this every year, I think it’s hard on the body”.

Alpine racer Esteban Ocon suggested that when addressing safety, F1 stakeholders also need to consider the new levels of stiffness in new cars, and how this is also a driver health concern as it can sending power through pilots into other areas even while porpoising is no problem.

“We’re not as bad as some other cars,” Ocon said of Alpine’s stance on porpoising.

“Some cars are easier to drive than others it seems. But what is very positive is that the FIA ​​is taking steps to look after us and that is a very positive thing.

“[However,] there are two aspects that I think should not be mixed up: it is the porpoising and the general rigidity of the cars.

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“Because in some corners that we already had last year – for example in Monaco after the tunnel, when I hit the pavement badly, I felt it hard on my body, and that’s not a end of a straight line or something like that this .

“So the stiffness of the car in general is also an issue. It’s not necessarily [just] how much porpoise you have at the end of the straights.”