Formula 1 introduced all-new design regulations ahead of the 2022 season to bring in a new generation of cars that depend on the ground effect. However, the new aerodynamic design of the car led to the violent bouncing due to sudden changes in the downforce called porpoising. Most of the teams experienced porpoising early in the season, with Mercedes taking the worst toll of the phenomenon. Several other teams experienced the worst effects of the severe bouncing on Baku’s bumpy street circuit. This led to a discussion about changes in regulation to combat porpoising, which could result in severe crashes on the circuit if not worked on.
Lewis Hamilton and George Russell suffered the worst effects of porpoising during the Azerbaijan GP. The two Mercedes drivers were left in extreme pain and discomfort after the race. At the same time, other drivers and teams also experienced the dangerous effects of bouncing in Baku. Therefore, the FIA finally decided to act on the matter quite swiftly.
FIA Issues A Regulation Change To Combat Porpoising
Recently the motorsport’s governing body announced the introduction of new measures to deal with porpoising leading to concerns about the safety of F1 drivers. The FIA issued a technical directive just a little over 24 hours before the start of the Candian GP. As per the new regulations, teams experiencing porpoising would be allowed to alter their cars’ set up to protect the drivers by limiting the level of vertical oscillations. However, the FIA has not given out a confirmation if the rules would be applicable during the weekend in Montreal.
The FIA further acknowledged the phenomenon of aerodynamic oscillations of the new generation of F1 cars, which is affecting the drivers’ physical condition after the race. Thus, the sport’s governing body decided in the interest of safety that it is necessary to intervene. So, the teams are allowed to make necessary adjustments to reduce or eliminate porpoising. Moreover, the FIA stated that it would launch an investigation and consult with the teams to reduce porpoising in the “medium term.”
The decision-making body also pointed out that the change was influenced by concerns over comfort and safety. This is because, the distraction caused by porpoising could result in high-speed crashes.
Will The Regulation Change Turn Thing Around For Mercedes?
Hamilton and George Russell have been quite vocal about the safety concerns since the start of the season. Toto Wolff has also spoken about the risk and struggles of porpoising, which was seen across the grid in Baku. Thus, with unanimous support around the paddock, the FIA decided to make a swift decision in less than a week.
However, Red Bull boss Christian Horner was not in favor of the regulations changes. He felt like the German racing team was forcing a regulation change to come close to rivals Red Bull and Ferrari after a nightmare start to the championship. However, F1 pundits feel that the rule change could lead to more suffering for Mercedes. They will have to figure out a way to get rid of porpoising permanently, which could cause more chaos.
Russell was happy with the FIA decision and said that everybody thinks Mercedes is pushing for a change. However, the Briton stated that his team did not want a change. Because it is hard to predict if it would go in favor of the Silver Arrows or against them. Russell thinks that the decision was made after the drivers globally agreed to a change after unsustainable conditions in Baku. Moreover, the 24-year-old felt that it was promising to see the FIA taking action quickly. He was happy that it did not take months or weeks along with political influence to make crucial safety changes. George added, “Things need to be resolved as soon as possible when it comes to safety. So, I’m not surprised to see it come in so quickly. But I think it is good for everyone.”