SILVERSTONE — The FIA will start enforcing rules around how much Formula One cars can bounce — or porpoise — from the French Grand Prix onwards.
F1’s governing body has introduced a Technical Directive on the issue following safety concerns about the impact of the bouncing on drivers’ health.
After the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, where a number of drivers complained about the uncomfortable ride in their cars, the FIA announced it would monitor the bouncing and come up with a metric by which it could regulate the forces being put on the driver.
Ahead of the British Grand Prix, the FIA confirmed it had decided on the metric it will use to monitor the bouncing and warned teams it would start enforcing the limit from the French Grand Prix onwards.
The bouncing is a trait of the latest generation of F1 cars and was not an issue on cars in recent years, which were designed to the previous set of regulations.
In order to generate aerodynamic performance from the underside of the car, the new regulations — which were introduced to promote closer racing — encourage teams to run the cars low to the ground and with stiff suspension.
The characteristics of the new cars has led to bottoming out, when the floor of the car hits the track, and a phenomenon known as porpoising, when the car’s underfloor aerodynamics momentarily stall over and over again, triggering a bouncing motion.
“In connection with safety concern previously raised by the FIA regarding the vertical oscillation (porpoising) of the new generation of Formula One cars, the FIA is now taking the next steps to address this issue and has sent a draft update to the Technical Directive issued prior to the Canadian Grand Prix to the teams,” an FIA statement said.
“The FIA’s analysis of vertical oscillation data has concluded, and we have defined a metric by which to monitor this – the update has been sent to teams to allow them to conduct their own analysis over the next two grands prix to understand what, if any, changes they may need to implement in order to be compliant when the Technical Directive becomes effective as of the French Grand Prix.
“Additionally, the Technical Directive also sets out some updated parameters relating to plank wear and skid stiffness, which are inherently related to the same issue, and go hand-in-hand with the metric. These changes are necessary in order to provide a level playing field between the teams when the metric is implemented.”