FIA: “No doubt” floor changes for 2023 were right thing to do

Formula 1

Following the overhaul of the technical regulations for this year and the return of ground effect, a number of teams encountered severe porpoising through pre-season testing.

Although many teams made changes to their cars to combat the issue, the recurring problems prompted the FIA to intervene on safety grounds mid-season, introducing a new metric to measure how much the cars were bouncing.

This was followed by a bigger change for next year, raising the height of the floor edges in a move that initially faced resistance from other teams before a compromise was struck.

Mercedes was one of the worst-hit teams when it came to porpoising, but its rivals argued that the issue had disappeared towards the end of the season, suggesting the rules changes for next year were not needed.

But in Abu Dhabi, cars were seen porpoising once again, suggesting the problem had not been remedied through the season.

Asked by Autosport if the porpoising in Abu Dhabi justified the rule changes, the FIA’s head of single-seaters, Nikolas Tombazis, said he had “no doubt we did the right thing.”

“We tried to find a pragmatic, short-term solution and a medium-term solution,” Tombazis said, referring to the AOR metric that came into force mid-season.

“It won’t necessarily dissipate [porpoising] completely, but it will be a step less.”

Mechanics and marshals clear the grid as the drivers prepare to start the race

Mechanics and marshals clear the grid as the drivers prepare to start the race

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Mercedes F1 chief Toto Wolff felt the bumpy track characteristics at the Yas Marina Circuit had caused the issue to return, forcing “a bit of a compromise” on set-ups.

He felt it was an “important” reminder that proposing was still an issue F1 had to tackle with the rule changes, justifying the FIA’s tweaks for 2023.

“You come to a conclusion that it’s not a problem any more, and then you find a track which is not even the worst in terms of bouncing and the porpoising, and the bouncing and the poor ride is back,” said Wolff.

“I think it’s good to have that here.”

George Russell had been one of the most vocal figures in favour of the floor changes for 2023, and he was confident it would be a step forward after porpoising emerged again in Abu Dhabi.

“The changes the FIA are making with the raised floor edge is going to be an improvement in that regard,” said Russell.

“It definitely adds quite a lot of fatigue. I forgot what it was like to drive with the car bouncing around through the corners, downward straight a little bit.

“So I’ll be happy if I turn up to Bahrain next year with none of that.”



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