The FIA intends to make changes to the 2023 technical regulations to try and address porpoising, as the technical directive that will come into effect after the summer break is a temporary solution.
A meeting of the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) that comprises the FIA, Formula 1 and the technical directors of the teams took place on Thursday, with the FIA stating it believes porpoising (or “vertical oscillations”) is a significant safety matter that it needs to try and reduce this season.
“It is the responsibility and the prerogative of the FIA to intervene for safety matters, and the reason the regulations allow such measures to be taken is precisely to allow decisions to be taken without being influenced by the competitive position each team may find themselves in,” an FIA statement added.
While it was acknowledged that there has been an improvement in the situation in recent races, the FIA believes that to be track-specific and expects the problem to reoccur later this year as well as worsen in 2023 when cars will have even more downforce due to development.
Looking ahead to 2023, the FIA discussed potential solutions with the teams and has narrowed down its planned changes to four key points:
1. A 25mm raising of the floor edges
2. A raising of the underfloor diffuser throat
3. The introduction of more stringent lateral floor deflection tests
4. The introduction of a more accurate sensor to help quantify the aerodynamic oscillation.
Those changes will need to be approved by the World Motor Sport Council, with the FIA keen to provide clarity to allow teams to continue with their 2023 development as soon as possible.
In the short term, the FIA has already outlined its plans to enforce change through a technical directive from the Belgian Grand Prix onwards, which will include a stiffening of the plank skids, changes to the way wear is measured and “the introduction of a metric, which will quantify the bouncing, which will have to stay below a prescribed value during the races.”Teams can use the metric from the next race in France to understand their position and what changes they may need to make.
As the FIA has forced these changes through on safety grounds, no vote was required from the teams on whether they accept the proposals, with some teams unhappy as they feel it is not a significant safety issue and should have gone through a voting procedure.
The meeting also saw agreement to focus on a strengthening of the roll hoop for 2023 following Zhou Guanyu’s crash in the British Grand Prix, when the roll hoop on the Alfa Romeo failed due to the force it was subjected to.