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While teams were on their way to Montreal, the FIA issued a technical guideline outlining how it planned to resolve driver complaints about their vehicles bouncing.
The goal is to develop a statistic that establishes a limit on how intense vertical oscillations can be before teams are required to lift their vehicles, as well as allowing floor improvements to be done ahead of the Canada weekend.
Only Mercedes was able to respond to the latter option, installing a second supporting stay in time for Friday practice. However, after questions were raised about whether the FIA had followed proper procedures, this was withdrawn on Saturday amid threats of a protest.
In a meeting on Saturday morning, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff and rival team principals clashed over the situation, and he later accused others of behaving in a ‘pitiful’ manner.
Toto Wolff, Mercedes AMG Team Principal and CEO, with Stoffel Vandoorne, Mercedes AMG Reserve Driver Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images photo
However, Wolff is not alone in believing that the FIA should have handled the situation better, and some are dissatisfied with the haste with which the matter was resolved on the eve of a grand prix weekend.
“I think the timing of the TD was not really perfect,” Aston Martin CEO Mike Krack said. “You have all the team traveling, and everything is on site.”
“You can react, but you must be certain of what you’re doing or know what this will do ahead of time.” So, in this circumstance, I believe you should adopt a prudent strategy and then look for it in the next race. The timing could have been a lot better.”
“The timing was definitely not good, because most of the individuals were traveling,” AlphaTauri CEO Franz Tost remarked. And sending out a technical directive just a few days before the race isn’t ideal.”
Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer said only informing teams on a Thursday meant that any squad not having already prepared something to strengthen their floor was left at a potential disadvantage.
“I think that isn’t fair for the rest of us that couldn’t bring a stay, for example,” he said.
“So, we’ve got to be careful that we don’t change the playing field mid-season.”
A number of bosses have also questioned whether or not the FIA’s overall plan is the right one, with the oscillating metric looking incredibly complex to manage and police.
Frederic Vasseur, Team Principal, Alfa Romeo Racing, in the team principals Press Conference Photo by: Motorsport Images
Alfa Romeo boss Fred Vasseur said: “I’m not sure that to introduce a new TD, that it’s the right way to do it, honestly.
“We will have again new things to manage, to police, to control and to complicate again the regulations.
“I think that some cars are quick with the bouncing, like the Ferrari, and some teams that were able to fix it, like Red Bull, but it’s up to the team to decide where they want to go.”
Szafnauer added that every team has the option to get rid of the porpoising immediately by simply lifting the ride height.
“We face exactly the same constraints of running these cars as everyone else does,” he said.
“And we just tend to run the car at a ride height that still gets the performance that we need, but it doesn’t injure or hurt the drivers or destroy the car. We run it in a secure manner.
“I believe every team has that opportunity to do so. Just increase the ride height. It will be safe and you have to do nothing else. It’s just some choose not to and lobby the FIA to make changes.”