Formula 1 teams say timing of FIA’s decision to act on ‘porpoising’ was poor
MONTREAL — Most of the Formula One teams were in the air en route to Montreal when their sport’s governing body announced it was stepping in to counter annoying bouncing cars.
Teams arrived for the Montreal Grand Prix on Thursday to find the FIA had issued a technical guideline aimed at reducing bouncing – also known as “porpoising” – which has plagued many drivers this season, including the seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.
The teams and the drivers are divided on the regulations. But most agreed on Saturday that the timing of the FIA’s announcement was terrible.
“The timing was absolutely not good as most people were traveling and just sending a technical directive a few days before the race is definitely not the best,” said team principal Franz Tost. by Alpha Tauri.
F1 has moved this season to “ground effect” – where the floor of the car is closer to the asphalt and generates aerodynamic grip – to tighten competition between teams.
But it crashed the cars and several drivers, including Hamilton, complained of extreme back pain.
The FIA fears that bouncing will reduce drivers’ ability to concentrate at high speeds.
Tost said, however, that riding has always been hard on the body.
“I remember when…a driver came to me on Sunday night and said, ‘I have to go to the dentist because I’m losing my fillings’ because cars are so hard to drive,” a- he declared. “It’s nothing new. Drivers need to do more training for the neck muscles and for the gluteus maximus. That definitely helps.
“(And) it’s a Formula 1. It’s not a Rolls-Royce, drivers should be aware of that,” added the 66-year-old Austrian. “If the cars are too stiff, or if it’s too hard for them, maybe they should stay home in the living room, sit in a chair, and then they can shop on TV or somewhere else.”
The FIA has told teams they could use a second stay to reinforce the cars’ floors this weekend, which Mercedes reportedly did with George Russell’s car in Friday practice.
But Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer argued most teams failed to bring a second suspension because the directive was issued when they were already on their way.
“It’s not fair to the rest of us who couldn’t stay,” Szafnauer told a press conference on Saturday ahead of afternoon qualifying. “So we have to be careful not to change the playing field mid-season.
“If the teams brought those seatstays, I would imagine maybe they could be looked at after (the race) and then protested…unfortunately if you have an extra seatstay you can drive the car lower, more lower and stiffer, and gain some edge.”
McLaren team principal Zak Brown agreed the directive came “a bit late in the day to be able to respond at the weekend…except the teams who maybe have a crystal ball”, did he declare.
Motorsport.com reported that Mercedes opted to scrap the second stay amid questions over a possible protest.
Due to the short notice, the FIA is expected to enforce its technical directive at the British Grand Prix on July 3.
Team bosses said they were happy to be back in Montreal, which is hosting Formula 1 for the first time in three years due to COVID-19 cancellations the past two.
“I love the Montreal race, I’ve always loved it,” Brown said. “It’s probably one of my favorites on the calendar, always produces great races. We’ve won here in the past. And yes, it’s great to be back.
“It’s a sold-out sale which doesn’t surprise me.”
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on June 18, 2022.
Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press