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FIA Announce Plans to Control 'Porpoising'; Mercedes Say 'Pushed' Lewis Hamilton 'Too Far'

By: Sports Desk


Last Updated: June 16, 2022, 22:36 IST

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton (AP)

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton (AP)

FIA announced that there will be an 'acceptable level of vertical oscillations' as Mercedes said they pushed Lewis Hamilton's car setup too far

In the wake of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, the FIA have announced plans to control the phenomenon of porpoising that has become a theme in the 2022 season, issuing a Technical Directive to the teams to give guidance about the measures they intend to take to tackle the issue.

Following consultation with its doctors, the FIA said they had felt compelled to react because, according to the governing body itself, “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 added that they had also had “concerns in relation to the immediate physical impact on the health of the drivers, a number of whom have reported back pain following recent events”.

According to the FIA, the short-term measures will include closer scrutiny of the planks and skids underneath the cars, both in terms of their design and their observed wear. They will also define a metric – the exact mathematical formula of which is still being analysed, and which the F1 teams have been asked to contribute to – to define a limit for the “acceptable level of vertical oscillations”.

Pushed our Drivers too far: Mercedes

Mercedes pushed Lewis Hamilton’s car setup too far in Azerbaijan last weekend and cannot cause him such pain again, the Formula One team’s head of strategy said on Wednesday.

Britain’s seven times world champion suffered severe back pain wrestling with his bouncing car in Baku and said it had been his most painful race.

Team boss Toto Wolff raised some concern about Hamilton being able to race in Canada this weekend but strategy boss James Vowles confirmed in a debrief that the driver would compete in Montreal.

“He is an elite athlete that will push the bounds of endurance of himself and the car and that’s what Formula One drivers do, that’s what makes them exceptional," said Vowles.

“On this occasion though, we pushed the package and our drivers too far, we are putting them into significant discomfort and we simply can’t do that again.

“We have a responsibility now to make sure that this doesn’t carry on," he added, pointing out other drivers were also suffering.

Hamilton finished fourth in Baku, with Russell third after both Ferrari drivers retired.

Formula One introduced a major rule revamp this season and the changes have caused cars to ‘porpoise’ — leaping up and down on the straights as the aerodynamic ground effect is suddenly gained and lost.

Vowles explained that there was a difference between porpoising, bouncing and bottoming.

“I’m confident we’ve made a step forward in terms of porpoising but we very clearly have bouncing and to the outside it looks almost identical, but there is a subtle difference between the two," he declared.

Vowles said progress in resolving the porpoising at the Spanish Grand Prix had allowed the team to drop the ride height and run the car lower to the ground — which had revealed another problem.

The car was now “hitting the deck" quite hard with the bottoming creating the bouncing evident in Baku.

Vowles said Montreal was not going to be substantially different.

“I think we will still have a package that isn’t at the front on merit," he said. “Red Bull and Ferrari will still be the benchmark that we have to compare ourselves to.

“I think, though, that the large gap that you saw in qualifying in Baku perhaps won’t be that big in Montreal."

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    (With inputs from Agencies)

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    first published:June 16, 2022, 22:36 IST
    last updated:June 16, 2022, 22:36 IST