Alpine, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2022

Protests possible over new floor stays after FIA porpoising directive – Szafnauer

2022 Canadian Grand Prix

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Formula 1 teams which have altered their cars in response to the FIA’s technical directive on porpoising could put themselves at risk of a protest, says Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer.

Under the technical directive teams have been told certain changes to their floors will be permitted in order to reduce the severe bouncing they have experienced. These include the adding of an additional floor stay.

However Szafnauer says the directive does not carry the force of regulation and any such changes could be considered outside the rules. He added it was issued too late in the day for Alpine to take advantage of the opportunity to alter its floor.

“The TD came out when our chief technical officer was flying over, so it was quite late and we aren’t able to produce a stay here,” he said. “As far as the process goes, it’s a technical directive and technical directives, as we all know, aren’t regulations.

“So it could very well be that we shouldn’t be running this in qualifying and the race. And if teams have brought those stays, I would imagine they could be perhaps looked at after and protested. So it’s against the regulation as it stands today.

“But we definitely don’t have one and unfortunately, if you do have an extra stay, you can run the car lower and stiffer and gain some advantage.”

Alpine will be able to adapt their floor in line with the TD before the next round at Silverstone in two weeks’ time, he added.

“But we’ve chosen to stiffen the floor in that area at the expense of weight. And as we all discuss there’s some cars that are still overweight and that’s a trade-off decision you make between adding weight to the car so you can stiffen the floor. If you’re just given a stay then you don’t have to add the weight and do the same job.”

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Rival team principals also expressed their disappointment at the timing of the directive. “It was not really ideal because we have all the team travelling, everything is on-site,” said Aston Martin team principal Mike Krack.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2022
Gallery: 2022 Canadian Grand Prix practice in pictures
“Yes, you can react, but you need to be really sure what you are doing, you need to know upfront what this would do. So I think it’s a situation you have to take a conservative approach and then look for it for the following race. But as I said, the timing really could have been better.”

AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost said “the timing was absolutely not good because most of the people were travelling and just to send out the technical directive a few days before the race is for sure not the best.

“To the reaction time, especially the floor of a Formula 1 car, it’s very [sensitive] part it’s not just [you] put any parts on it without investigations.

“So we from Scuderia AlphaTauri have to find out what we do, which direction we will take to the technical directive regarding stiffening of the floor or whatever, and this takes some time. For sure we will not do it here and then we will see what we can arrange for Silverstone.”

Teams’ floors at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2022
Red Bull floor, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2022
Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2022
McLaren floor, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2022

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Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2022
Aston Martin floor, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2022
Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2022
Alfa Romeo floor, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2022
Haas, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2022
Haas floor, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2022

George Russell, Mercedes, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2022
Mercedes floor, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2022
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2022
Ferrari floor, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2022

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2022
AlphaTauri floor, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2022

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Author information

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...
Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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14 comments on “Protests possible over new floor stays after FIA porpoising directive – Szafnauer”

  1. Yet another example of how the teams view performance as something more important than safety. The drivers (the ones at risk) congratulated the FIA on the speed with which they tried to address this problem. Of course, the teams don’t care about safety unless it benefits them…

  2. Whenever Otmas Szafnauer is offering an opinion on the rules of Formula 1 one can safely assume the opposite to be true.

    1. Perhaps it was just too late for him to ask this technical team to make a copy of someone else’s…

  3. Cars have had these stays since testing so I’m not sure how teams adding them in a possibly desperate attempt to have driveable cars prejudices anyone.

  4. So what are their options now?
    Go to a local machine shop and borrow the lathe for a couple of hours to make extra stays??
    This is very strange.

    1. You get get some 6mm steel rod at Canadian Tire and a dremel and some epoxy to mount it.

  5. Under the technical directive teams have been told certain changes to their floors will be permitted in order to reduce the severe bouncing they have experienced. These include the adding of an additional floor stay.

    Did I miss something? I don’t recall seeing this portion of the TD ever being reported previously.

    1. Ralph Williams
      19th June 2022, 0:44

      That’s because technical directives are not made available to the public. Imagine other sports changing the rules mid-season and not even making them public knowledge for the fans or even the bettors.

  6. … there’s some cars that are still overweight and that’s a trade-off decision you make between adding weight to the car so you can stiffen the floor.

    My understanding is Technical Regulation 4.1 sets a minimum car weight (775 kg), not a maximum weight. That suggests to me a car cannot be overweight because there are no rules stating what the maximum weight of a car is.

    1. In F1 World, if the minimum weight is 775 kg, then the maximum weight is 775.1 kg.

    2. @drycrust I don’t see the confusion. Your own post even quotes a specific weight. Unsurprisingly going ‘over’ that weight is considered ‘overweight’.

    3. Being over (minimum) weight is not a legality concern.

  7. I thought to have read that the biggest concern of the teams was that apparently only Mercedes had these second stays on their cars. And Zak Brown and Josh Capito were questioning how one team guessed that this TD would come out and were already prepared.

    1. That’s what I’m seeing as well. The TD was released Thursday. The Mercedes cars showed up to the event with the second set of floor stays already in place. While they aren’t installed in the photo in this article, the outboard anchor for the second floor stay is still clearly visible.

      These facts somewhat put Szafnauer’s comments in a different light, do they not?

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