Following the FIA’s intervention to try and reduce the porpoising effect on the 2022 single-seaters, drivers talked about the issue on Friday in front of media including MotorLAT.
“I think all the teams are chasing the balance, are chasing the downforce, and the way to find it is just to go as low as possible, but there is certainly a limit on how low you can go,” commented Sergio Perez.
“We all want to be lower than we currently are, but we all have limits that we can go to.”
While Red Bull seems to be suffering from it very little, other teams have seen their drivers struggle with backpain.
“If you’re hitting those limits, that is not healthy for the drivers, like a few of the drivers commented last weekend,” he continued. “I think it’s a good intervention from the FIA to try and calm it down.”
The silver arrows seem to have been suffering porpoising the most, especially last weekend in Baku.
"It's always interesting seeing people's perspectives and opinions in different lights," opened up Lewis Hamilton. "I think safety is the most important thing. And I think there at least one driver in every team has spoken on it."
A safety concern that needs to be addressed, as it is set to have long time effects on the driver’s health.
“I don’t think it’s going to change a huge amount, but there’s a huge amount that needs to be done. It’s positive that the FIA are working towards trying to improve it, because we have this car for the next few years.”
“So it’s not about coping with the bouncing for the next few years, it’s about completely getting rid of it, fixing it, so that future drivers, all of us, don’t have back problems moving forward.”
Safety is the priority for Sebastian Vettel as well.
"It can't be that us drivers should suffer injury, short or long term, or possibly for the rest of our lives,” he said.
"Every sport to the extreme is not healthy, but it cannot go on for another four or five years like this so it's good the FIA is looking into it."
Quite a bit less diplomatic was Hailton’s teammate George Russell, who stated: “We’ve heard it from Carlos [Sainz Jnr] at times and Checo [Perez] and Max [Verstappen] over the season how bad it’s been. But now that their performance seems to be strong, they obviously don’t want changes because it can only hinder them. So it is obviously a bit of a shame to see performance prioritised over safety.”
Issues that go beyond the pain felt by the drivers.
“In Baku I could see my pit board but I couldn’t read my pit board because I was bouncing around so much. I saw a video of Lance [Stroll] on one of the laps struggling to change the buttons on the steering wheel because you visibly just saw how much the car was shaking around and how stiff it was and everything.”
“We’re all competitive animals here in this sport and we all want to win. But we can’t put our bodies at risk before any of that.”
Russell believes FIA intervention doesn’t solve the problem.
“With what’s been brought forward this weekend, I think it’s really more of a sticking plaster than the solution. We need to wait and see.”
“I think for even the teams suffering the least, it’s still an incredibly aggressive and bumpy ride. And the FIA have access to all of the vertical acceleration loads we’re going through and it’s far beyond what you’d expect is safe to deal with. So bigger conversation is definitely needed moving forward on where we go from here.”
It has been argued that the most obvious solution would be a rise in height, something that teams don’t want to do in order not to lose on performance. Russell, however, is convinced the changes introduced by FIA are an incognita on the performance side as well.
“From our side, from a performance aspect, having any change is a total unknown. The FIA are the rule makers and they could bring in any regulation change they want and nobody sat here knows if that’s going to improve their performance or have a negative effect on their performance. So we really have to see.”
“There’s so many different aspects and elements of these cars that by raising the car doesn’t necessarily reduce it or remove it. You’re going between porpoising and bottoming, it’s two sort of different issues at play here, and obviously the stiffness of the cars is really bad.”
“Time will tell. I hope it’s easy to drive for everybody and it doesn’t have a knock-on effect on performance for anyone.”
Another driver who felt the bouncing quite heavily is Carlos Sainz, who had to get some “extra therapy sessions” with his trainer and scans in order to be fit on time for this weekend’s Grand Prix.
“I think the FIA listened to the conversations we had in the last few weeks and to the drivers’ complaints. To be honest I didn’t expect such an early response or such an early action,” he said.
“Let’s see how these rules are, I think they are gonna start affecting pretty much every team in the grid.”
On the other end, who doesn’t seem to have a big problem with porpoising is Alpine, as Fernando Alonso explained.
“This is a very difficult topic to really have an answer. I think on our case we will just concentrate on the things that we have to do,” he said. “It seems that we can control it.”
“Only in Barcelona we had a very strange case, we had a problem setting up the car. We had a very difficult race in Barcelona with the bouncing. I think it was actually the double of what Mercedes was feeling in Baku.”