The FIA have announced plans to control the issue of porpoising that has plagued Formula 1 cars and drivers this season.
The new-design of F1 cars for 2022 has given rise to the porposing effect where cars violently bounce up and down at high speeds, sending heavy loads through drivers’ spines.
The issue has been known about since pre-season testing and despite engineers’ attempts to combat it, the situation appears to have only gotten worse since then, with the subject a major talking point at last Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
After the race, Sir Lewis Hamilton, whose Mercedes W13 has suffered with proposing more than any other car, struggled to climb out of his machine and was seen clutching his back in serious pain.
Hamilton, alongside teammate George Russell, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr., McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo and AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly have led the public call for the sport’s higher-ups to find a solution to the matter in the interest of safety.
And it seems those prayers have now been answered with the FIA set to introduce short-term measures ahead of this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix, and will subsequently work closely with the teams to combat porpoising.
In a statement on Thursday, the sport’s governing body said: ‘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.’
The FIA were originally not going to intervene in the matter given that they and F1’s chiefs viewed porpoising as more of a performance related issue than a safety one, but the recent grand prix have made it impossible to ignore.
The short-term measures will include closer scrutiny of the planks and skids underneath the cars, while the FIA aim to set a metric that will define the limit for the ‘acceptable level of vertical oscillations.’
While action is finally being taken, it is unlikely that these measures will help Hamilton and Mercedes, who may now be forced to raise the height of the car in order to meet this metric, which they have been reluctant to do as it can severely dampen the pace of the car.
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