Mercedes gets wish as FIA steps in to curb porpoising after Lewis Hamilton’s agony

Several F1 drivers have complained about the pain and discomfort they are feeling this season due to extreme bouncing affecting their cars, with Hamilton being one of the worst affected.

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The FIA ​​will intervene to reduce porpoising affecting Formula 1 cars this season “in the interests of safety”, the sport’s governing body has announced.

Many teams across the grid have struggled with the problem this season, with new aero design of the cars having an unfortunate side effect. Car bouncing not only affected the performance of some cars, but caused discomfort to drivers.

Several have now come out to suggest changes need to be made to car design in the interests of safety. This follows a particularly bumpy Azerbaijan Grand Prix, with Lewis Hamilton being the most affected as his bouncing Mercedes gave him severe back pain.

His team-mate George Russell has also spoken out particularly on the issue, having suffered numerous porpoises in his own car over the Baku weekend. They were backed by Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo to demand that the safety and well-being of the drivers take priority.

On Thursday, the FIA ​​announced a technical directive that will lead to short and long-term measures being put in place. These measures are not expected to be applied at this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix, due to the short notice, but in the future there could be significant changes in the design of the cars.

“The FIA, as the sport’s governing body, has decided that, in the interest of safety, it is necessary to intervene to demand that teams make the necessary adjustments to reduce or eliminate this phenomenon,” said the FIA ​​in a statement.

He added that the steps the FIA ​​intends to take to get rid of porpoising include “a closer look at boards and runners, both in terms of design and observed wear”, and “defining a metric, based on the vertical acceleration of the car, which will give a quantitative limit for an acceptable level of vertical oscillations”.

Mercedes’ extreme porpoising takes its toll on Lewis Hamilton’s body


AFP via Getty Images)

Teams in the F1 paddock will be asked for their views on what that quantifiable limit for porpoising should be, giving figures like Red Bull chief Christian Horner the chance to voice their opposition to any intervention by the FIA . “It would seem unfair to penalize [teams] who did a decent job compared to those who maybe slightly missed the mark,” he said after the Baku race.

“The FIA ​​has decided to intervene after consultation with its doctors in the interests of driver safety,” the governing body’s statement added. “In a sport where competitors regularly drive at speeds in excess of 300 km/h, it is considered that a driver’s full concentration should be focused on this task and excessive fatigue or pain experienced by a driver could have significant consequences should this result in a loss of concentration.

“In addition, the FIA ​​is concerned about the immediate physical impact on the health of the drivers, a number of whom have reported back pain following recent events.”

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