Ahead of this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal, the FIA has issued a technical directive for an acceptable level of vertical oscillations to combat extreme porpoising. It’s aimed at safety and securing the health of the drivers.
Porpoising has been a topic since pre-season testing at Barcelona in February. Mercedes, eight-time defending Constructors’ Champions, have really struggled with it and found themselves well off the pace of Ferrari and Red Bull.
It came to a head in Baku as seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton was left with back pain after his team ran their car too low. Such was the dangers of it, Hamilton almost had a massive crash in the fast left-right section heading on to the very long straight at the end of the lap.
Drivers from other teams also complained of the porpoising as the bumpy Baku streets really exposed the bouncing of the 2022 cars.
You can read in full the FIA statement below on how they plan to tackle the problem to avoid a repeat of what happened in Baku.
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.