Max Verstappen believes the FIA is wrong to bring in a technical directive addressing porpoising when some teams have shown they are able to prevent the phenomenon from presenting a serious challenge.
At last weekend’s race in Baku, a number of teams struggled with bouncing and bottoming out, with the Mercedes drivers the most vocal about how painful it was for them inside the cockpit. In response to dialogue with drivers and doctors, the FIA is introducing a technical directive ahead of this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix that will create a threshold for the “acceptable level of vertical oscillations” but Verstappen is not happy that such a change has been introduced.
“I think it’s a bit disappointing that again there is a rule change mid-season, I would say,” Verstappen told RACER. “It’s not even about affecting us more or less than other teams, but it shouldn’t be that one team is complaining a lot and suddenly then they change the regs around it.
“I think there are a lot of teams that actually did an amazing job to not have these kind of issues, so it is possible to drive around it. If you raise your car then you won’t have these issues, but you lose performance. But if you can’t design the car properly for that then that’s your fault, it’s not the regs fault. For me that is a bit of a shame.”
While the technical directive could force the likes of Mercedes to raise their ride height to meet the FIA’s threshold — once it is defined — Verstappen says creating a firm rule that could also impact teams doing a better job is unfair.
“Of course every track is different, too, but I think it’s a bit of a shame to change it mid-season and clearly teams have shown you can drive normally, or at least with a lot less issues than some other teams.”
Haas team principal Guenther Steiner was similarly unsure about the technical directive, as he believes it could influence the pecking order due to the impact on car setup.
“We need to measure what it is, actually,” Steiner said. “Some of the cars are pretty bad. And there is a solution — just raise the ride height. But then you go slow … who wants to go slow? It’s like I don’t know how many years ago, in the middle of the season when we had the change of tires. It’s something like this.
“You change something fundamentally, you could change the pecking order completely again. Is that really fair? No. The use of the safety factor… but that could be approached, too — if it is too dangerous, just raise your ride height.
“The measurement with this is to find where it is dangerous, find the limit of something, if you are above this threshold… I don’t know what penalty you could give. It’s pretty fresh, this thing.”