Formula 1 and the World Automobile Association want to get a grip on porposing in the new cars in order to protect the health of the drivers. After the race in Baku, numerous pilots complained about health problems caused by the bouncing. In Canada there was a technical guideline from the FIA, but it was not applied.
“It was a lot of ado about nothing!” Makes Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto clear, who is not satisfied with the FIA’s process. The association issued a first directive to reduce porposing.
The teams have to be prepared for the fact that the vertical forces in the car will be measured in the future. If the measured values are too high, the teams should be forced to reduce the bouncing using the vehicle settings.
At the same time, FIA formula boss Nikolas Tombazis offered the teams an option to reinforce the underbody with a second strut. This strut was spotted on the Mercedes cars in free practice in Montreal. As quickly as the new parts were installed, they disappeared again because the competition did not agree with them.
Rule change by directive not possible
The technical directive was not considered a rule, so the teams would have had every reason to protest the Mercedes car if the strut had been installed further. In the technical regulations for the 2022 Formula 1 season, which have not been changed so far, only one strut is allowed on the underbody to stiffen it.
Binotto denounces the confusion and the FIA’s approach: “For us, the technical guidelines are not applicable.” This is because a directive is there to specify or enforce applicable rules. According to the Ferrari team boss, a rule change is not possible.
The FIA has the option of changing the technical regulations of Formula 1 without the consent of the racing teams if driver safety is affected. But even then, the rule change must first be ratified by the World Motor Sport Council. The council will not meet again until the end of June ahead of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. A rule change would theoretically be possible before this race.
Should the FIA stay out?
But Binotto also has doubts about that: “Even if it concerns safety, what can the FIA do? There must first be a discussion with the Technical Advisory Committee and then they can go to the World Motorsport Council and change the rules without the permission of the teams. But you can’t do that with a technical guideline. That’s why we informed the FIA that the guideline is not acceptable.”
Binotto believes that the hint for the teams was not circulated on purpose. “I believe that because the measuring devices are not yet being used,” says the team leader. “The additional parts were not installed in a single car this weekend. It was much ado about nothing.”
Binotto understands why driver health must be the focus, but also believes that as the cars are developed, the teams will find solutions themselves. He does not consider intervention by the FIA to be necessary. How Formula 1 and the FIA will solve the issue of porpoising in the 2022 season is still in the stars. One thing is certain: the topic will continue to cause heated debates in the paddock.