On safety considerations, the FIA intervenes to reduce F1 porpoising.
The FIA has reacted to Formula 1 drivers’ requests to address the issue of porpoising on safety grounds by publishing a new technical rule ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix.
After numerous drivers sustained neck and back injuries on the rough circuit, the drivers made their plea at their usual meeting on Friday in Baku.
Previously, such issues were limited to drivers for teams that experienced the greatest porpoising or bouncing, such as Mercedes’ George Russell and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz.
More opinions were raised over the Baku weekend, with Lewis Hamilton in particular suffering during the race.
In response, the FIA has issued a technical instruction to teams that includes both short and long-term solutions.
However, it’s expected that the FIA’s concentration on observation and data gathering in Montreal this weekend will have little bearing on how teams drive their vehicles.
In a statement, the FIA said: “Following the eighth round of this year’s FIA Formula One World Championship, during which the phenomenon of aerodynamic oscillations (“porpoising”) of the new generation of F1 cars, and the effect of this during and after the race on the physical condition of the drivers was once again visible, the FIA, as the governing body of the sport, has decided that, in the interests of the safety, it is necessary to intervene to require that the teams make the necessary adjustments to reduce or to eliminate this phenomenon.”
The governing body made it clear that it was primarily using the safety card to highlight driver focus. It implies that any adjustments do not necessitate team consensus.
“Following consultation with its doctors, the FIA has decided to intervene in the interests of driver safety,” the FIA said.
“In a sport where the competitors are routinely driving at speeds in excess of 300km/h, it is considered that all of a driver’s concentration needs to be focused on that task and that excessive fatigue or pain experienced by a driver could have significant consequences should it result in a loss of concentration.
Mercedes-Lewis AMG’s Hamilton in Parc Ferme Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images photo
“Moreover, the FIA is concerned about the immediate physical impact on the drivers’ health, as a number of them have experienced back pain as a result of recent events.”
The FIA said that the technical directive had been issued to “give guidance to the teams about the measures the FIA intends to take to tackle the problem”.
“Closer investigation of the planks and skids, both in terms of their design and observable wear,” is the first measure offered.
Secondly, there will be “the definition of a metric, based on the car’s vertical acceleration, that will give a quantitative limit for acceptable level of vertical oscillations.
“The FIA is still analyzing the specific mathematical formula for this metric, and the F1 teams have been invited to participate in this process.”
The FIA adds: “In addition to these short-term measures, the FIA will convene a technical meeting with the teams in order to define measures that will reduce the propensity of cars to exhibit such phenomena in the medium term.”