In the wake of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, the FIA have announced plans to control the phenomenon of aerodynamic oscillations, popularly known as porpoising, that has become a theme in the 2022 season, issuing a ‘Technical Directive’ to the teams to tackle the issue.
“Following the eighth round of this year’s FIA Formula One World Championship, during which the phenomenon of aerodynamic oscillations (porpoising) of the new generation of Formula 1 cars, and the effect of this during and after the race on the physical condition of the drivers was once again visible, the FIA, as the governing body of the sport, has decided that, in the interests of the safety, it is necessary to intervene to require that the teams make the necessary adjustments to reduce or to eliminate this phenomenon,” FIA, the governing body for world motorsport, said in a statement on Thursday.
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.
Following consultation with its experts, the FIA said they had compelled to react on this issues. “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 said.
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”.
A number of teams suffered from bouncing issues across the Baku weekend, with Mercedes’ James Vowles admitting after the race that the team had “pushed the package and our drivers too far; we are putting them into significant discomfort and we simply can’t do that again”.
(Inputs from IANS)