The Formula 1 fraternity is heading into the French Grand Prix amid tensions due to the introduction of new technical regulations. Porpoising became a major concern for the FIA after several drivers complained about back pain and blurred vision after the race in Baku. Meanwhile, Mercedes had been quite vocal about the bouncing issue they faced since the start of the race. The Silver Arrows failed to find the solution to their porpoising troubles. George Russell and Lewis Hamilton also urged the FIA to intervene, keeping the safety concerns in mind.
F1 governing body has decided to intervene and introduced a new technical directive to eliminate/reduce the porpoising in the newly designed F1 car. The new cars work on ground-effect, generating the crucial downforce from the floor rather than using expensive front and back wings. While teams like Red Bull and Ferrari managed to get their cars right, Mercedes has struggled since the start of the season. The uneven air flow below the car led to vertical oscillations for the Mercedes.
The new technical directive will come into effect next month at the Belgium GP. However, all the racing teams have not been in favor of a rule change, especially the frontrunners. Although it is a safety matter, the FIA does not require the teams’ approval to change the rules. Thus, despite criticism from Red Bull and Ferrari, FIA is set to enforce the new regulations next month.
While there has been no bouncing during the events in Canada, Silverstone, and Austria, the FIA warned the teams that the bouncing could still be a problem again during the upcoming races in the second half of the season. From the Belgium GP, the teams will have to use stiffer planks under their cars to stop the flexing below the car.
Several Teams Unhappy With Mid-Season Regulation Changes
As per the reports, the regulations will enforce the raising of floor edges, changing the diffusor, and introducing sensors to measure the extent of porpoising in each car. While the directive is based on drivers’ safety, some teams have felt that Mercedes over-sold the safety aspect of porpoising to gain some advantage in the championship.
The frontrunners claimed that the Silver Arrows could have raised their floor heights to counter porpoising. However, that would have led to sacrificing some crucial performance that they already lack. Following the change, some teams have claimed the FIA’s intervention went against the spirit of regulations, and a governing body cannot tell teams how to set up their cars.
Further, the announcement of Mercedes’ special advisor Shaila-Ann Rao in a senior role at the FIA raised several eyebrows. Some teams accused that Mercedes got news about the technical change before the official announcement and testing a new plank in Canada. However, there has been no evidence that Mercedes received the information beforehand. So, with the implementation of changing coming soon, tensions are beginning to rise between teams.