Lewis Hamilton says some Formula 1 drivers are giving different opinions on safety issues behind the scenes than they are in public, following the FIA’s intervention regarding porpoising at the Canadian Grand Prix.
The FIA has issued a technical directive that will mandate a maximum permitted level of vertical oscillations that drivers can be subjected to, forcing teams to make changes if their cars are bouncing too much. Hamilton spoke directly after Max Verstappen said it was wrong to change regulations during a season.
“It’s always interesting seeing people’s perspectives and opinions in different lights,” Hamilton said. “Obviously, in front of you (the media), it’s one thing and in the background, sometimes people say different things.
“Ultimately, I think safety is the most important thing and I think there’s at least one driver in every team who has spoken on it. I don’t think it’s going to change a huge amount, but there’s a huge amount that needs to be done.
“It’s positive that the FIA are working towards improving it because we have this car for the next few years. So it’s not about coping with the bouncing for the next four years, it’s about completely getting rid of it — fixing it so that future drivers, all of us, don’t have back problems moving forward.”
While Hamilton doesn’t expect the pecking order to change once the FIA finalizes its plans, he says the compression on his back is so severe that he felt the intervention was necessary.
“I cannot stress more how important health for us. We’ve got an amazing sport here but the safety has to be paramount, has to be the most important thing. I’ve not spoken to … a specialist on discs but I can definitely feel mine. I am little bit shorter this week and my discs are definitely not in the best shape right now — that’s not good for longevity.
“There are things we can do to improve that for the all of the drivers here. We want to arrive and do our job, put on a great show and race the safest and there’s no need for us to have long-term injuries. We just need to work closely with the FIA and not take it lightly, which I don’t think they are.
“There’s a lot more bruising on the body after the races nowadays so it’s taken you most of the week to recover and you have to do a lot more to do it. I don’t think that generally has to do with age but it’s because the bruising can be quite severe.
“It’s interesting to hear from the other drivers that have experienced it in a bad, bad way. When you’re experiencing 10gs on a bump — that is what I was experiencing last race — that’s a heavy, heavy load on the bottom part and top part of your neck as well.”