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Brain damage from porpoising? Wolff raises the alarm

Mercedes has once again clearly backed the porpoising measures planned by the FIA ​​​​for 2023 and justifies this with a medical report that was shown in Hungary at a meeting with FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem. It shows the health hazards for the drivers.

The topic had recently caused a great deal of controversy. The FIA ​​would like to raise the edges of the underbody by 25 millimeters so that the cars don’t touch down as much. However, this is not well received by all teams because it would throw their concept overboard and incur new costs.

A compromise suggested by the teams included an increase of ten millimeters, but it is not yet clear whether the FIA ​​​​will agree to a compromise in this case. Because the association considers this to be a security-related issue and could therefore push through the change without approval.

Mercedes is considered by many to be one of the teams that could benefit most from the FIA ​​measure. So it’s not surprising that the Silver Arrows are in favor of the changes. But for motorsport boss Toto Wolff, after examining the FIA ​​medical report, there are no two opinions.

“There’s a lot of talk about lobbying in both directions, but what are we even talking about here?” he says. “The FIA ​​has commissioned a medical opinion on porpoising. The doctors’ conclusion is that frequencies of one to two hertz sustained for a few minutes can cause brain damage. We have six to seven hertz for several hours. “

“So the answer is very simple: the FIA ​​​​must do something about it,” Wolff clarifies.

Ferrari: Spa measures are enough

Despite the report, not all teams are convinced that porpoising will continue to be a security issue in the coming year. Because the FIA ​​​​will introduce a measure from the race in Belgium and use a metric to measure the aerodynamic vibrations. And if you are above that, you have to improve.

That should actually eliminate the biggest problem, say Ferrari. “We have to be careful when we talk about safety,” says sporting director Laurent Mekies. “There are a few important issues that need to be discussed in the future: roll bars or other things,” he says.

“I think you have to separate that from the discussions that we are having with the teams and the FIA ​​about how to improve the situation for porpoising and in that context the directive does [für Spa] a good job,” says Mekies.

Wolff: Porpoising not over

In recent weeks, however, porpoising has not been the big issue. Nevertheless, Wolff warns against thinking that the problem has been completely eliminated: “I still believe that the FIA ​​​​and we have no choice but to do something,” said the Austrian.

“I don’t want it to happen at Spa or some of the later races where the track isn’t as smooth as a conventional circuit and we haven’t done anything and people say, ‘Well, it’s too late now ‘” says Wolff.

“The argument is that we haven’t had porpoising and bouncing in the last few races. But that doesn’t count because Silverstone, Paul Ricard and Austria aren’t exactly circuits where we bounce.”

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