August 13, 2022

Growing annoyance over the physical impact and risks of the ongoing rebound became a big talking point over the Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend, with the issue raised during the F1 drivers’ briefing.

Grand Prix Drivers’ Association (GPDA) director George Russell has reportedly directly asked the FIA ​​to look into the matter, as he is now openly concerned about the safety implications that arise from excessive jerking at high speeds. .

“Well, I think it’s only a matter of time before we see a major incident,” said the Briton. “A lot of us can barely keep the car straight over these bumps.”

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But while Russell’s concerns are shared by many drivers, not all teams believe something drastic needs to be done in the short term, especially since it’s a problem not all competitors suffer from.

It emerged that last year, during discussions on the evolution of the 2022 cars, a proposal had been put forward to counter concerns about the risk of porpoising.

It is understood that as it became clear how hard teams were going to have to run with the 2022 generation of cars, the idea of ​​introducing something to eradicate the risk of kickback was discussed.

But the proposal, which was supposed to involve a series of technical measures which would have effectively imposed a minimum ride height to lift the cars away from the risk of porpoising, did not have the necessary support and was therefore rejected.

But while teams saw no need for something like this at the time, growing concerns from drivers should at least bring the subject back into the FIA ​​spotlight.

“I think it’s only a matter of time before we see a major incident. A lot of us can barely keep the car straight over these bumps, we’re driving through the last two corners at 300 kilometers per hour, hit bottom.” george russell

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

McLaren team boss Andreas Seidl agreed the “brutality” of the porpoising meant it was right the matter was discussed between the teams and the FIA.

However, he also pointed out that any team can get rid of the problem instantly by increasing the ride height of their car, even if it would lead to a reduction in performance.

“We understand that the severity we see in some cars is brutal on the drivers, and that’s why it’s a fair point to bring to the technical advisory committee, to see if it makes sense to address it,” he said. said Seidl.

“But at the same time, right now, a team knows how to stop him immediately.”

Russell’s boss, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff, said the current situation was not straightforward – and he felt it was important to understand why some cars were suffering more than others.

“I think we’ve seen cars that don’t have the problem and cars that have had it worse, clearly,” he said.

“I can speak for our two drivers: they have problems and it goes so far that even a physio can’t solve the problem sometimes. So we have to see how it develops. And also understand why it is much more difficult in some cars than in others.

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto didn’t think the current cars were particularly difficult to drive – and said more time was needed to figure out where things stand.

“If we judge Formula 1, I don’t think they are the least comfortable cars to drive, in terms of formula motorsport,” he said.

“I think it’s a challenge for the drivers, no doubt. But still, I think these cars are quite comfortable to drive. It’s a challenge, a technical challenge, I think we’re looking at each other, we’ve already made progress, and I think that in the future, we can still progress. So definitely too early to judge.”