Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Baku Street Circuit, 2022

FIA issues new technical directive to reduce ‘porpoising’ on safety grounds

2022 Canadian Grand Prix

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The FIA has taken the first steps towards reducing Formula 1 cars’ ‘porpoising’, which has provoked complaints from many drivers in recent races.

The governing body of motorsport said on Thursday it has taken the steps in response to the degree of porpoising seen at races up to and including last weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Since the season began drivers from several teams have complained they have suffered painful rides in their cars.

This is partly due to porpoising, where cars rise and fall at high speed due to the designs of their floors, which have changed drastically this year in response to new regulations. Some teams have suffered this problem to a greater extent than others.

The teams as a whole are also running their cars much more stiffly than before in order to improve their performance. This change has made their cars less compliant over bumps.

Report: Montreal is “going to hurt” in stiff 2022 cars say drivers hoping for bouncing fix
The FIA has today issued a technical directive to teams advising them it will conduct more detailed inspections of the designs of their cars’ floors and how they wear during sessions.

It also promised to set a limit on the vertical movement of cars, to prevent drivers experiencing an unacceptably painful ride and risking injury. This limit will be set in consultation with F1’s teams.

The sport’s governing body also intends to discuss with teams how the cars could be changed to make them less susceptible to porpoising in the first place.

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FIA statement: FIA takes steps to reduce porpoising in the interests of safety

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.

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:

1. Closer scrutiny of the planks and skids, both in terms of their design and the observed wear
2. 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 process.

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 has 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 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. 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 following recent events.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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137 comments on “FIA issues new technical directive to reduce ‘porpoising’ on safety grounds”

  1. Wise move, as sooner or later they would’ve needed to react anyway.

    1. And not before time. On matters of driver safety, as this clearly is, the FIA should be taking the lead, not simply treating the matter as a design issue for each team to get it right , or not.

      What we want is competitive cars where the driver isn’t put at risk to gain that competive edge.

      1. It is a design fault with the car. The teams can sacrifice performance, and eliminate it, but they don’t… FIA shouldn’t punish the teams that don’t have a problem, by giving the others a free pass to fix their mistakes.
        They didn’t when merc had the dominant pu.
        Put in rules to protect the drivers by penalties for excessive vertical g forces or a frequency of oscillation

    2. Not really. Fia blunder. The porpoising is not nice but the ride is poor because the cars are super stiff so that they perform better. What stopped cars from being as punishing as they are now was the fact the tyre wall deflected a lot more than it does at the moment, meaning the cars could only be as stiff as the tyre. The cars are as stiff as ever, the tyre is what changed.

      1. The measure is targetting vertical travel, ferrari is clearly the car that has more amplitude. In WEC toyota looks just like ferrari, isn’t the fia doing anything in wec? lmp2 look like the merc, short amplitude porpoising but high frequency.

        1. Actually, it’s targeting vertical acceleration, not travel. Larger amplitude doesn’t mean higher acceleration if the frequency is lower. The London Eye has a much larger amplitude than most rollercoasters…

    3. petebaldwin (@)
      17th June 2022, 10:42

      It also pushes the issue further down the line a bit. There aren’t any specific rules this weekend (other than closer scutiny of the floors which doesn’t really mean a lot..)

      We then head away from street circuits for a while with only Singapore remaining later in the season.

      I don’t imagine they’ll have any vertical G limits or anything like that until next season and with the data the teams all have, most will have sorted out their issues for next year.

  2. FIA is short for “Mercedes can’t hack it.”

    1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
      16th June 2022, 17:41

      The way it reads though is MB have to stop their car porpoising. Every team has to follow suit. The directive isn’t that the ride height has to be raised to stop the car hitting the ground.

      If a car is within the directive then nothing has to be changed.

      On the face of it this actually is worse for MB.

      1. Not if you consider the part where teams are invited to share their ideas for changes to be implemented in the medium term.

        Who do you think will have the time and budget to devote to such a task? Who will be the leader in any technology chosen? And who will have to change their car from what is already working under the current rule set to a different development track altogether?

        1. The likes of Red Bull who aren’t porpoising will be less effected than Merc for example who would need to compromise performance in order to comply with any new oscillation rules.

      2. The directive, “Closer scrutiny of the planks and skids, both in terms of their design and the observed wear.”
        While it says they will be looking at the issue more closely, doesn’t really dictate anything about porpoising, only wear on the skids and floor sections.
        The reference to vertical accelerations and movement are yet to be defined. Pretty much a cop-out.
        Yes this is likely worse for MB as they look like the stiffest and lowest of the cars.
        The test will be to see if any team gets tagged (DQ’d…?) for excessive floor damage and plank wear.
        Montreal will be a great test as the track is likely to be very rough. Something about frost heave and high water tables.
        Expectation … sparks are gonna fly.

        1. @rekibsn I read elsewhere that while they will be talking/debating/consulting etc about this very much this weekend (I’m sure it’s all we’ll hear about) and starting the monitoring, it is too early days in this directive to be issuing any penalties this weekend.

    2. So you read the article (I hope, but I’m not holding my breath), and that’s what your little brain came up with did it? Huh.

    3. @proesterchen

      Dude… if anything, this directive is going to be a major setback for Mercedes and Ferrari.

      2. The definition of a metric, based on the car’s vertical acceleration, that will give a quantitative limit for acceptable level of vertical oscillations.

      Ferrari and Mercedes will have to shave off performance to make sure their cars are in the oscillation limit. Red Bull must be grinning from ear to ear.. looks like the FIA is going to hand them 2 championships in 2 consecutive years.

      1. Short term? Maybe. If they are fools.

        Medium-term? Mercedes will submit a wish list of rules changes in hopes of getting their flawed design working, which, if adopted, would put everyone else at a significant disadvantage for years to come.

        1. They are talking to all the teams so why would the FIA be stupid enough to only take what Mercedes say and go with that, surely all the teams will convene in the same direction which will more than likely be active suspension, so those that got it right still hold an aero advantage

          If Redbull is fast in the current regs how much faster could they go with Active suspension, I believe a lot faster

        2. @proesterchen – read it again please I beg you.

        3. What on Earth are you going on about? The FIA will merely regulate the oscillations. How did you go from that to “a wish list of rules that would put everyone else at a significant disadvantage for years to come?” Read the article again.

      2. @todfod

        looks like the FIA is going to hand them 2 championships in 2 consecutive years.

        FIA isn’t handing anything. They are doing perfectly fine as it is already.
        On top of that, drivers have been complaining. Lewis would do anything to not experience another Baku. Russell is warning that a terrible accident is going to happen. They want something to be done.

        Well, seems like the FIA is now stepping in to listen to Russell and Hamilton and do what the teams wouldn’t do as they keep on prioritizing performance over driver wellbeing: force them to stop subjecting the drivers to a detrimental, unsafe working environment.

        Same for all.

        1. All mb has to do is raise the car, and it will eliminate the problem, but the choose to risk the health and safety of their drivers instead

        2. @mattds Exactly. If anyone is handing RBR the Championships this season (which they are earning on merit obviously) it is the complaining drivers and their teams that have continued to punish said drivers to the ‘Max’;)

          RBR meanwhile continue to show what can be done under the current regs and caps without the intervention of a TD needed to save their drivers.

      3. Naughty Neutral
        16th June 2022, 23:08

        ‘ FIA is going to hand them 2 championships in 2 consecutive years. ‘

        Here we go again… The FIA doesn’t hand them anything! They would DESERVE those titles by having produced a better car!

        1. Exactly, Mercedes has got a bunch of F1 championships in recent (an earlier) years because they made a car that was way better than most of the other teams.

          The last 2 years this domination was over and now that other teams produced better cars some people say that the FIA is going to hand them the championships???

      4. The key technical term in the directive is “accelerations”.
        Ferrari can live with a lot of vertical movement and still keep accelerations low. The Mercedes, being more stiffly sprung will suffer higher accelerations with less movement. Again, this is not looking good for MB.
        It is the accelerations that are a pain in the back, neck, where-ever.
        One solution is to suspend the driver’s seat rather than work to soften the car. Easy, cheap and probably without any weight penalty. Yes, Colin Chapman would be cheering this on.

      5. Just on short term. Please read this part again:

        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.

        This means they will be helped to solve the problem. Mercedes did it again. Just like last year with the in season tyre change for ‘safety’. I feel the politics is too much in control. I can except a certain level, but Mercedes is being ridiculous and FIA way to dependent somehow on them

    4. This seems more like raise the ride height or get disqualified to me.

      1. Still we rise…

        1. ‘Still we rise’. Mark, that was awesome.

        2. It’s “Still I Rise.”

          1. Or “Still I Bounce”

          2. And I thought it was “All rise.”

      2. Read all off it please. The first part is just a smokescreen for the people and born out of fear something might go wrong before they get the chance to help Mercedes

    5. Maybe they can place a moratorium on this safety measure. You know… we already have precedent this year with the ridiculous drama around piercings. But I think we all know what’s going to happen with this particular issue. I hope the other teams take a scorched earth approach in fighting this. As far as I know, nobody else is calling for changes in regulations except Mercedes. Ferrari have bad bouncing as well, but their car is the fastest, so they’ve kept quiet.

    6. Mercedes will, like all other teams, loose performance. I think there will be an equal outcome.

    7. This directive will hurt Mercedes. This looks like a big win for Red Bull actually

  3. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
    16th June 2022, 17:38

    Good, that’s that done and dusted. I was afraid they’d push through a change to bring back active suspension on the grounds of safety because Mercedes keeps crying for it like a toddler, but so far they haven’t.

    1. 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.

      Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.

    2. They should bring it back. This is F1, we want the cars as fast as possible, not making alterations to go slower.

  4. If FIA stick to “quantitative limit for acceptable level of vertical oscillations” for drivers safely, it can only mean bad news for Mercedes.

    Every teams that let their drivers to endure above those limit would be penalized.

    1. That’s how I was interpreting it as well. So it would also massively hurt Ferrari (who have a quick car but lots of porpoising) so potentially when this is all done and dusted, Red Bull are going to be miles ahead of everyone else.

      1. Ah yes. Ferrari could be hurt more than Mercedes. Even when their drivers never complain about it.

        1. Martin Eggett
          16th June 2022, 18:03

          Sainz complained

      2. @t1redmonkey I agree 100%. If after this change the championship becomes a race for one FIA really shot itself at the foot…

      3. Red Bull are going to be miles ahead of everyone else.

        For this season, which they are already running away with.

        But for the future, other teams get to change the playing field fundamentally, and could easily get a run on everyone else if they managed to get mitigation measures adopted that they have (a) already spent R&D on, (b) allows them to use a concept that is not suitable for the current rules, and (c) forces everyone else down the same road, enshrining their own head start.

        1. @proesterchen reliability aside, Ferrari is as fast or faster than Red Bull, as can seen by the pole position’s record. In the first year with a cost cap, they are changing regulations during the season for a “security” issue that hasn’t caused a single incident thus far. Doesn’t really seem fair from where I’m standing.

      4. Carlos was pretty vocal. Probably partly as an excuse to mask his poor performance.

        The rest of the team didn’t complain though.

        1. He’s always complaining when he’s losing to his teammate. His complaints might have backfired on the entire team though.

          The guy isn’t even a number 2 driver.. he’s a liability with a 2 year contract.

          1. Nice try, he is very close to his team mate’s speed in reality. to within 99.75% at least.

  5. petebaldwin (@)
    16th June 2022, 17:47

    Seems fair enough. They’re not bringing in any strict rules initially but will keep an eye on the floors and will set limits to the bouncing.

    There not much else that can be done – they teams are choosing not to fix the issues because they don’t want to sacrifice pace but at the same time, they seem to want the FIA to bring in rules to force them to slow down. Weird….

    1. they don’t want to sacrifice pace but at the same time, they seem to want the FIA to bring in rules to force them to slow down

      No, the interested parties want the rules to change because they didn’t do a good job and are now limited by the budget cap and development limits from catching up with the team/s that got it right.

      If you’re in that situation, any change is good change because at least you have the chance of tilting the playing field to the point where – in the best case scenario – you being behind under the current rules set puts you ahead under whatever are the rules going forward.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        16th June 2022, 20:18

        True but what the FIA have said today is effectively “we’ll be keeping a close eye on you and will bring in limits to stop you running your car dangerously in future.” Nothing that will help the teams who are currently struggling.

        1. If Mercedes manage to convince the FIA to bring enough ride control options back in the medium-term, their concept may suddenly become the faster one on enough tracks to make them contenders or even favourites for the Championship.

          Remember, Mercedes are deeply enamoured with their current design to the point where they are pulling every string and lever available to them to change reality to more closely resemble their sim data.

          They may already have a solution, with the only problem being that its design is incompatible with the current rules set.

          1. read what the FIA have written. I know you hate Mercedes, and dont believe that Hamilton was in pain, but this directive will make Mercedes even more slower than Ferrari and Red Bull. this directive will hurt the teams with the most purpoising, as the FIA doesnt want the drivers getting hurt. There is nothing their that can help mercedes, you are being a conspiracy theorist.

          2. There is nothing their that can help mercedes, you are being a conspiracy theorist.

            You didn’t read the statement all the way through or managed to miss the part where Formula 1’s teams will have input on what changes to be implemented in the medium-term.

            I have clearly laid it out in the post you replied to what the outcome of that consultation could be. We will have to wait and see just how successful Mercedes are going to be in their lobbying efforts.

      2. For a start teams that are not bouncing (like RB) did not necessarily do anything specific to reduce the porpoising. As far as I know, no one can really pinpoint what is causing the issue on some cars and not others. So it is likely red bull got lucky and their design just happens to not exhibit the effect. Remember it was red bull who managed to not make their car light enough and then got the regulations changed so that they were not harmed by it… The teams that “did a good job” and got their cars within the weight limit were then effectively punished…. Because red bull could not build a lighter car….

        1. I find the suggestion that this was luck on anyone’s part unsupported by facts if not completely counterfactual.

          Aston Martin designed a car that was chasing downforce by running low and stiff (remind you of any other team?) and was a mess.

          The Aston Martin went to a design that allows for more compliance and a larger operating window, and not only does it run smoother, it’s quicker, too.

        2. This is complete nonsense. RB didn’t “get lucky” and Merc know what’s causing the bouncing and how to fix it. They just need to raise the car. But that kills the downforce and that’s why they won’t do it.

        3. Lee1 What an unfounded crock on both counts. Adrian Newey built a great car that from day one has displayed an insignificant amount of porpoising. As to weight, all teams have been overweight. All of them have struggled to get down to the minimum and that has been part of the development game throughout this season.

        4. All cars except Alfa Romean were too heavy…. so not only Red Bull. But they worked hard to get the car lighter and they are now somewhat near the limiet.

  6. Steve Clark
    16th June 2022, 17:57

    So are the FIA claiming that teams are deliberately making their cars ‘porpoise’?

    1. Yes. For the sake of speed

    2. It’s not so much that they’re doing it on purpose as they are allowing it to continue to avoid sacrificing performance.

      Red Bull have clearly come up with a better floor design that doesn’t have the same propensity to porpoise. Merc and Ferrari have more issues with their designs, especially Mercedes, but could tune it out if they wanted to at the expense of performance. They’re choosing not to right now, or at least finding a compromise setup.

  7. I think with this MB finally must find a solution asap for their drivers. The teams will discuss and will know what Toto wants (bring back exotic suspensions etc) but he will hit a wall with the teams that are with RB and Ferrari.
    Mercedes can use this year to learn and rise from 2023 onwards.

    1. @bluechris

      Would be great to see Mercedes and Ferrari team up on active suspension against Red Bull though. Heck, Ferrari isn’t going to beat Red Bull if they have to reduce performance to meet porpoising requirements. At least with changes to the suspension regulations, they might stand a chance.

      1. I hope Merc do not get given a get out of jail free card with a suspension change. They had a huge advantage with the previous regulations which took years for the other teams to catch up because of the token system. I fear there will be more avoidable bouncing in Canada and more complaining.

      2. Where is all this talk about active suspension? Did I miss that in the article? I’ve not heard a single mention that it’s coming back.

      3. @todfod Lol Mercedes and Ferrari ‘team up o