SportF1Wolff insists against porpoising and talks about brain damage

Wolff insists against porpoising and talks about brain damage

The FIA’s initiative to change the 2023 technical regulations and raise the edges of the ground by 25mm to help de-bounce the cars has not gone down well with most teams, who fear it will force them to redesign unnecessarily. and costly its new plans for the future single-seater.

FIA President Mohammed ben Sulayem has been canvassing all teams and drivers over the past two weekends to try to better understand the situation and determine exactly what measures should be applied at the end.

Although some teams would prefer a 10mm rise from the ground, there is no guarantee that ben Sulayem will agree to such a solution, and there has been talk of a possible legal recourse if the FIA goes ahead with the original plan.

However, Mercedes is one of the few teams that welcomes the international federation’s stance on the matter, and team principal Toto Wolff has suggested that a medical report shown to him in a meeting with ben Sulayem in The Hungaroring this Saturday was all the proof he needed to be sure the proposed changes were necessary.

“There is talk of pressure in one way or another, but I think deep down, what are we talking about?” he said.

“The FIA has commissioned medical work on porpoising. The doctors’ summary is that a frequency of 1-2Hz, maintained for a few minutes, can cause brain damage. We have 6-7Hz for several hours”

“So the answer is very easy: the FIA has to do something about it.”

But despite the evidence in the FIA medical report, not all teams are convinced there is a real safety concern for next year.

George Russell, Mercedes W13, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari F1-75, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari F1-75, Lando Norris, McLaren MCL36, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13, the rest of the field at the start

Ferrari believes that the plans that will come into force at the Belgian Grand Prix, where teams will have to stick to an aerodynamic oscillation metric (AOM), will be enough to get rid of the worst of porpoising .

His race director, Laurent Mekies , said: “I think we have to be very careful when we talk about safety reasons.”

“I think we were all in this press room the last time we discussed it and it was because of the Halo and that sort of thing.”

“There are some big issues that need to be talked about in the future: roll bars or anything else. So I think you have to separate that from the discussions that we are having with the teams, with the FIA, about how to improve the situation. for porpoising and in this context, the technical directive for Spa is doing a good job”.

Although porpoising has not been a problem in recent races, Wolff believes it would be a mistake to think that the problem has been completely eradicated.

“I still fundamentally believe there is no option for the FIA and for us to do anything,” he added.

“I don’t want to have it at Spa, or some of the last few races where the tarmac isn’t as smooth as a conventional circuit, and we haven’t done anything and people say, ‘well, it’s too late now.

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


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