FIA issues technical directive in bid to reduce porpoising

The FIA have responded to growing complaints from drivers over how painful it is to drive the new 2022 F1 cars

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Following complaints from Formula 1 drivers, the FIA has announced a new technical directive ahead of the 2022 Canadian Grand Prix in hopes of reducing porpoising of the 2022 cars.

Drivers have voiced their complaints since the start of the season, as teams are running their cars much more stiffly in order to improve performance in response to the new regulations this season.

This has resulted in porpoising, where cars rise and fall at high speed due to the design of the new floors, and cars that are less compliant over bumps.

At the recent Azerbaijan Grand Prix, several drivers complained of neck and back issues due to the bumpy circuit, with Lewis Hamilton calling the race the “most painful” he’s experienced.

FIA’s response

The FIA has responded by issuing a technical directive to teams, advising them that they will be conducting more detailed inspections of their cars’ floors and how they wear during sessions.

The new directive will not affect how teams run their cars in Montreal, as the FIA will be focused on gathering data.

Hamilton struggles to get out his Mercedes after the 2022 Azerbaijan GP

“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 Formula 1 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,” read a statement by the FIA.

“A Technical Directive has been issued to give guidance to the teams about the measures the FIA intends to take to tackle the problem. These include:

“1. Closer scrutiny of the planks and skids, both in terms of their design and the observed wear
“2. 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 exact mathematical formula for this metric is still being analysed by the FIA, and the Formula 1 teams have been invited to contribute to this process.

“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.

“The FIA has decided to intervene following consultation with its doctors in the interests of safety of the drivers. 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.  

“In addition, the FIA has concerns in relation to the immediate physical impact on the health of the drivers, a number of whom have reported back pain following recent events.”

Adriano Boin
Adriano Boin
Motorsport journalist specialising in Formula 1 and Ferrari.
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