How the FIA’s F1 porpoising clampdown will really work

The Canadian Grand Prix weekend has been dominated by the ongoing battle that Formula 1 teams are facing with porpoising.

How the FIA’s F1 porpoising clampdown will really work

In the wake of an especially brutal Baku race for a number of drivers – with Lewis Hamilton’s back pain highlighting the battering some are facing right now – intervention by the FIA in trying to eradicate the problem has added a fresh dimension to the debate.

In a technical directive sent on Thursday to teams by the FIA’s single-seater technical director Nikolas Tombazis, the governing body laid out its plans to fix porpoising and bouncing in a bid to try to help drivers.

And although F1’s TD are never officially published, here is how the FIA explained its plan to teams for both the immediate, short and long-term future.

Immediate car changes

One of the main difficulties teams have faced in curing porpoising has been trying to maintain a stable aero platform as downforce levels increase on the straights.

Matters have been complicated by some teams suffering from the floor edges flexing down as speeds go up – which leads to an increase in downforce levels.

This in theory sounds great, but the reality is that the increased downforce accelerates the extent to which the car is pushed down on to the track, so therefore makes the porpoising worse.

It was this issue that prompted the pre-season decision to allow teams to run a single floor stay to help strengthen the edges and limit the flexing.

Mercedes W13 floor detail

Mercedes W13 floor detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

From the Canadian Grand Prix, the FIA will allow two further measures to help teams make their floors stronger. They will be allowed an additional stay mounted further forwards of the one already adopted – which is something that Mercedes has introduced already.

Furthermore, teams will be allowed an additional thickness on the floor’s top surface – even if this breaks local regulations on curvature or if it protrudes beyond the volumes defined in the regulations.

If these changes do deliver a tangible benefit in helping address the porpoising, then the FIA will then propose a formal rule change that can be voted on by teams for approval by the World Motor Sport Council.

Bouncing metric

One of the things that the FIA wants to gather over the Canadian Grand Prix is whether a car can be determined to exhibit ‘excessive vertical accelerations’ as it bounces.

This will be analysed first through both closer inspection of the patterns of plank and skid wear on cars – as well as the ways that some teams are reducing the wear of their skids.

The FIA is also hoping to pull together what has been referred to as an Aerodynamic Oscillation Metric (AOM) – which will help it determine if cars are porpoising too much.

Read Also:

This will be achieved through analysis of a sensor already fitted to cars near its centre of gravity to help measure vertical acceleration with the hope that an AOM figure can be agreed to set a maximum limit.

If this can be achieved over the next few races, then teams will be asked to calculate their own AOM over three consecutive laps in Saturday morning’s final free practice session while not using DRS (any laps not done at racing speed or following other cars will be discarded).

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri AT03, kicks up some sparks

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri AT03, kicks up some sparks

Photo by: Carl Bingham / Motorsport Images

With this figure in play, teams will have to stick with their ride height values, vertical stiffness and aero configuration for the rest of the weekend.

The only exceptions to this will be raising the car up, if the weather changes, adjustments for cooling, tyre pressure changes or the adjustment of the front wing flap angle.

If a team cannot deliver a set-up that meets the AOM figure, they will be requested to produce a set-up sheet with the lowest AOM it can and raise the static ride height by 10mm.

Read Also:

The penalty for not complying with the AOM number is clear. The FIA has warned teams that if cars bounce too much and go beyond limits laid down, then they will risk disqualification from an event.

This would be done until Article 1.3 of the 2022 F1 Technical Regulations which relates to ‘dangerous construction’. The rule states: “The stewards may exclude a vehicle whose construction is deemed to be dangerous.”

Should teams agree on the procedures for determining an AOM figure, which many within the paddock are sceptical of, then the FIA could try to deliver a metric for when the car is running on track.

Sparks kick up from the rear of Lando Norris, McLaren MCL36

Sparks kick up from the rear of Lando Norris, McLaren MCL36

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Longer term changes

Whether or not sorting the AOM is a success or proves unworkable, the FIA is determined to produce better rules for 2023 and beyond that eradicates the porpoising problem.

It wants teams to support this push in CFD by testing potential modifications to the cars that could help reduce the propensity for the current generation of cars to bounce.

As options that could be looked at, Tombazis wrote: “Geometries that will be investigated could include the raising of the floor edges, the reduction of the floor platform, the elimination of the front edge wing, etc. We are also open to the possibility of allowing further stiffening of the floor, via an additional stay, should this be deemed beneficial.”

Talks are planned with teams at a forthcoming meeting with the technical directors with a view to starting the process for changes to come for next year.

shares
comments
F1 Canadian GP qualifying - Start time, how to watch & more
Previous article

F1 Canadian GP qualifying - Start time, how to watch & more

Next article

Ferrari’s F1 reliability dramas just a ‘bump in the road’ says Sainz

Ferrari’s F1 reliability dramas just a ‘bump in the road’ says Sainz
The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat Plus

The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat

After being ditched by McLaren earlier in his F1 career Sergio Perez fought his way back into a seat with a leading team. BEN EDWARDS thinks the same could be happening to another member of the current grid

How studying Schumacher helped make Coulthard a McLaren F1 mainstay Plus

How studying Schumacher helped make Coulthard a McLaren F1 mainstay

Winner of 13 grands prix including Monaco and survivor of a life-changing plane crash, David Coulthard could be forgiven for having eased into a quiet retirement – but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, in fact he’s busier than ever, running an award-winning media company and championing diversity in motor racing. Not bad for someone who, by his own admission, wasn’t quite the fastest driver of his generation…

Formula 1
Aug 7, 2022
Could F1 move to a future beyond carbonfibre? Plus

Could F1 move to a future beyond carbonfibre?

Formula 1 has ambitious goals for improving its carbon footprint, but could this include banishing its favoured composite material? PAT SYMONDS considers the alternatives to carbonfibre and what use, if any, those materials have in a Formula 1 setting

Formula 1
Aug 6, 2022
How Russell has proven he deserves to be Hamilton's Mercedes heir Plus

How Russell has proven he deserves to be Hamilton's Mercedes heir

He’s fast, he’s smart, and he’s already shown he’s not going to let Max Verstappen intimidate him. George Russell won’t say it, but LUKE SMITH says he’s ready to take the lead at Mercedes when Lewis Hamilton moves on to a quieter life. And – whisper it – Mercedes and Lewis are starting to think so too

Formula 1
Aug 5, 2022
The traits that fuelled Alonso's unexpected Aston Martin move Plus

The traits that fuelled Alonso's unexpected Aston Martin move

Fernando Alonso’s bombshell switch to Aston Martin sent shockwaves through Formula 1, not least at Alpine that finds itself tangled in a contract standoff with Oscar Piastri. Not shy of a bold career move and with a CV punctuated by them, there were numerous hints that trouble was brewing

Formula 1
Aug 4, 2022
The elements Ferrari must resolve to first save face, then win championships Plus

The elements Ferrari must resolve to first save face, then win championships

OPINION: Ferrari's Formula 1 title hopes look all but over after another strategic blunder in last week's Hungarian Grand Prix denied Charles Leclerc the chance to fight for victory, while handing it to chief rival Max Verstappen. The Scuderia now faces intense scrutiny over what it must now do to finally become a genuine factor in championship battles

Formula 1
Aug 3, 2022
The clues about Hamilton’s F1 retirement plans revealed after Vettel’s decision Plus

The clues about Hamilton’s F1 retirement plans revealed after Vettel’s decision

OPINION: Sebastian Vettel is set to leave Formula 1 at the end of 2022 and will, rather shockingly, be replaced by Fernando Alonso at Aston Martin. But what about the final chapter of the other driver that defined the post-Michael Schumacher era? In Hungary, Lewis Hamilton spoke about his future in the context of Vettel’s upcoming departure, which offered clues on how long it will last

Formula 1
Aug 2, 2022
Why all signs point to F1’s Monaco special relationship continuing Plus

Why all signs point to F1’s Monaco special relationship continuing

OPINION: With more potential venues than there are slots in future calendars, rumours have been circulating that the Monaco Grand Prix could be a casualty of F1’s expansion into new markets. But MARK GALLAGHER thinks this is highly unlikely

Formula 1
Aug 2, 2022