FIA Intervenes to Reduce or Eliminate “Porpoising” Amidst Safety Concerns
Formula One - Lewis Hamilton after the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Photo Courtesy: Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, 2022 Azerbaijan GP, Baku.

The FIA has issued a Technical Directive to the teams to give guidance regarding the measures it intends to take on the aerodynamic oscillations, also known as ‘porpoising’, generated by the new generation of Formula One cars, which have raised concerns about the driver’s wellbeing.

In the short term, and according to the FIA, the Technical Directive establishes closer scrutiny of the planks and skids, both in terms of their design and the observed wear.

And 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 analyzed by the FIA, and the Formula 1 teams have been invited to contribute to this process.

The FIA further explains that it 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 2022 Formula One season saw the introduction of a new aerodynamics package as a set of new technical regulations aiming to promote closer competition among all teams.

In an interview held a year ago, Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN Head of Trackside Engineering, Xevi Pujolar, spoke with Sports Pundit about the new regulations: “The aim of the new regulations is to reduce a lot the aero loads as well as to restrict the areas of development of the car. In this way, it should be easier to follow a car they should have less load, and therefore all the competitors will be much closer together.”

Throughout the season, which kicked off in Bahrain last March, the drivers have addressed the propensity of the new cars to produce the phenomenon known as ‘porpoising’, and the effect it generates during and after the race on the physical health of the drivers as well, have become visible.

Last weekend, after Sunday’s race in Baku, seven-time Formula One world champion, Lewis Hamilton, struggled to exit his car, suffering from severe back pain.

Concerns raised about whether he would be fit to race in Canada this weekend, but those were short-lived.

The Mercedes driver made it clear through social media that he will be at the wheel when Formula One returns to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for the first time in three years due to the pandemic.

On Sunday after the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Hamilton wrote on his Instagram account: “P4 today. Congrats to George [Russell] on another great drive and an overall positive result for the team.”

Seeing online that a lot of people are concerned about me with how awful it looked out there. It means so much that so many of you are sending love.

I’ll be honest. It looks terrible and feels 100 times worse. Definitely, some recovering and hard work with the team to do before Montreal to overcome this hurdle. Feeling better already, though, and motivated to keep pushing. See you next week.”

The ninth round of the 2022 Formula One World Championship, the Canadian Grand Prix, takes place on Sunday at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, spanning 4.361 km (2.709 miles), a 70-lap race.

The Briton sits in sixth place in the 2022 Formula One Drivers standings with 62 points after eight rounds.

Cecilia demartini
Sports Pundit staff writer @ceci_2812
Cecilia is a writer and journalist, passionate about motorsport and tennis.Her articles are published in newspapers and international online publications.

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