SportF1The FIA defends that it could not ignore the...

The FIA defends that it could not ignore the danger of porpoising

Motorsport’s governing body has come under fire for making a later change to the 2023 technical regulations to help limit the porpoising of cars.

It first reacted this year, introducing a metric to measure rebound from last weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix, with the aim of helping to limit the amount of that phenomenon that teams can experience in their cars.

The move came after pilots complained of the physical trauma posed by the effect, and subsequent research showed that there was potential for brain damage if exposed to too many hits.

In addition to the current changes, the FIA initially planned to also raise F1’s ground edges by 25mm for next season. That move provoked rejection from the teams, who felt it was too late to make such a major review of future car designs.

In the end, following talks between FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem , and the teams and drivers, an agreement was reached for the change to be just 15mm .

However, with teams appearing to have a tight grip on porpoising in recent weeks, some still think the 2023 changes were not necessary, with world champion Max Verstappen saying this week that he thought it was overkill.

Asked by Motorsport.com for criticism, FIA single-seater chief Nikolas Tombazis felt it would have been totally wrong to have done nothing and risk the drivers having long-term health problems.

“We see that, generally speaking, with the increase in performance, there is also a tendency to increase that phenomenon [of rebound],” he said. “At the same time, teams are learning more about it and can control it better.”

“Now, we have to act responsibly in this sport. We see examples of other disciplines that have ignored the long-term effects of certain conditions that they put the athlete through, so we thought we needed to take a long-term view on this.”

“These regulations will remain until 2025 inclusive, before we move on to the new regulations for 2026, and we thought it was better to act soon than to be here discussing the same thing a year from now and so on.”

“So it was the combination of all those factors. Plus, of course, we compromised on the issue. The president was very involved in all of this compromise and that’s why I think we ultimately came up with the right solution.”

“But there’s no doubt that some people will say it’s too much, and others will tell us it’s too little. That’s normal.”

While some teams were particularly unhappy with the original plans to raise the floor by 25mm as they felt no modifications were necessary, they have accepted the smaller 15mm tweak.

Speaking of his team’s attitude to the change, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said: “Well my wife often tells me size doesn’t matter so I’m not going to worry too much about 10mm. .

“So it’s 25mm versus 15mm, we have to live with it and that’s the way it is. It’s inconvenient for them to change anything at this time of year, it’s incredibly late, but it’s the same for everyone.”


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