Horner and Wolff agree FIA porpoising clampdown hard to police

Rival Formula 1 team bosses Christian Horner and Toto Wolff agree that the FIA’s intervention on the porpoising issue will be hard to implement.

Horner and Wolff agree FIA porpoising clampdown hard to police

On Thursday the FIA issued a technical directive indicating that there will be a clampdown on porpoising and bouncing on safety grounds.

After gathering data in Montreal this weekend the governing body will find a way to introduce a metric that will be “based on the car’s vertical acceleration, that will give a quantitative limit for acceptable level of vertical oscillations.”

Teams will then have to comply with that number by adjusting the set-up of their cars to suit each venue, depending on how much bouncing they have.

Horner and Wolff have been at opposite ends of the debate all season, with Red Bull not suffering from the phenomenon as much, while Mercedes is struggling more than anyone else.

However they agree that the FIA may struggle to find a way to make the clampdown work.

“I think it just needs a bit more discussion to understand how it's going to be policed,” Horner told Autosport.

“That's obviously always the issue with these things. So I think it's well intended, but like all these things, the implementation is crucial.

“What if you have a change in conditions, the wind changes or whatever? So I think that's always going to be the difficulty.

“But look, I think they've reacted to the pressure that was put on them, which was inevitable, on the grounds of safety, of course.

“With all these things the implementation is important, and the understanding of the metrics.”

Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing

Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

Horner acknowledged that the FIA’s chosen course is better than something like a minimum ride height: “I think it would be grossly unfair to have a tantamount to a regulation change halfway through the year.”

Wolff said that creating a metric won’t be easy, and like Horner said that the teams needed further talks with the FIA.

"I think sometimes we need to not over complicate the situation,” he told Autosport.

“Measuring frequency can lead to very controversial situations, or assessments. Would you disqualify a car that you deem to be bouncing too much and get a win out of him?

“I doubt you would do that. So all teams have to stick their head together with the FIA and say 'what can we do' in order to get this under control."

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes AMG

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes AMG

Photo by: Carl Bingham / Motorsport Images

Wolff agreed with Horner’s assessment that bouncing is related to circumstances.

"The point is that cars bounce at various stages through the weekend, we have sessions where we don't bounce," he said. "Fuel, no fuel, wind, headwind, tailwind, grip levels.

"So I think it will be very different to say in one session you're bouncing too much. And what do you do in the race then?

“You could have a day that you're doing perfectly fine and you don't see high amounts, and the next day, you have a bouncing car. I think what needs to be acknowledged is ground effect cars are a problem. And we need to tackle that."

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Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer was another to indicate that implementing the technical directive will be a challenge.

"It's not an easy task, it will be difficult,” the American told Autosport. “And I also understand it might be circuit specific. So how do you quickly determine that before you get to a venue, so you can plan?

“So it's early days, I mean, we're all trying, we will be helpful to the FIA. We have to make sure that it's fair to everybody, and the playing field remains even. So I don't think we can start introducing regulations, mid-season, to favour one team over another."

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