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F1 teams set for FIA meeting over porpoising solutions

Formula 1 technical chiefs are set to meet the FIA this week to try to find solutions to the championship’s porpoising controversy before the British Grand Prix, Autosport has learned.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18, Fernando Alonso, Alpine A522, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari F1-75, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13, the rest of the field at the start

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18, Fernando Alonso, Alpine A522, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari F1-75, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13, the rest of the field at the start

Andrew Ferraro / Motorsport Images

The FIA’s intervention on safety grounds, to try to eradicate cars bouncing, triggered huge controversy over the Canadian Grand Prix weekend.

Many F1 teams were annoyed at the late timing of the announcement, and there was confusion among a number of competitors about whether or not new bouncing limits were supposed to be in place for the weekend.

Furthermore, the way in which the FIA only issued a technical directive, rather than formally changed the rules, prompted talk of a protest if Mercedes went ahead and ran with a second floor stay.

The clash of opinions up and down the pitlane over the matter reached a head in a team principals’ meeting on Saturday, when Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff was left furious at what he felt was "‘pitiful" behaviour from fellow bosses in ganging up on him.

With no consensus reached between teams in Montreal, the FIA will now try to move things forward when its single-seater technical director Nikolas Tombazis meets with F1 technical directors later this week.

It is hoped that moving discussions away from the heat of competition over a race weekend will allow for a more considered approach in trying to put solutions in place.

The topics of discussion are likely to involve analysis of the data that the FIA gathered on vertical oscillations over the Montreal weekend, and whether or not it is feasible to try to impose limits at some point in the future.

Mercedes W13 floor comparison

Mercedes W13 floor comparison

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The FIA also wants to gather information from teams about potential changes to the technical regulations for 2023 that could give them more scope to cure the porpoising issues longer term.

This could include aero changes, revised suspension systems or even the unbanning of tools like mass dampers.

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After a weekend of tension over the porpoising matter, Wolff reckoned that it was important teams took the issue as seriously as they should.

Asked by Autosport if he had faith that the politics could be removed from the debate when tech chiefs met, Wolff said: “I think the political manoeuvring that has been going on doesn't consider what is at the core of this topic.

“At the core of this topic is that since the beginning of the season, race drivers have been complaining about pain to drive these cars: back pain, blurred vision, we're talking about micro concussions and people giving their feedback in literally every team.

“This is something we just need to tackle: whatever the solution is and whatever technically can be implemented to go in that direction.

“We need to be aware that this is not about cutting a winglet that is an advantage for a team, or a double diffuser. It is that all of us team principals and teams: we have the responsibility to not take this lightly.”

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