FIA introducing measures to control porpoising

After 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.

A return to ground effect cars for 2022 has seen a revival in F1 of the porpoising phenomenon, where cars lose and then regain downforce in quick succession, setting up a cycle of the car moving up and down. Meanwhile with ground effect working best when cars are run as low to the ground as possible, some teams have also struggled with additional issues like bottoming out and bouncing.

A Technical Directive has been issued to give guidance to the teams about the measures the FIA intends to take to tackle the problem. These include:

  • Closer scrutiny of the planks and skids, both in terms of their design and the observed wear.
  • The definition of a metric, based on the car’s vertical acceleration, that will give a quantitative limit for acceptable level of vertical oscillations. The exact mathematical formula for this metric is still being analysed by the FIA, and the Formula 1 teams have been invited to contribute to this.

In addition to these short-term measures, the FIA will convene a technical meeting with the Teams in order to define measures that will reduce the propensity of cars to exhibit such phenomena in the medium term.

The FIA decided to intervene following consultation with its doctors in the interests of safety of the drivers. In a sport where the competitors are routinely driving at speeds in excess of 300km/h, it is considered that all 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.

In addition, the FIA has concerns in relation to the immediate physical impact on the health of the drivers, a number of whom have reported back pain.


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