FIA implements steps to reduce porpoising to ensure safety of drivers

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Porpoising has been a severe issue for all F1 teams across the grid – with multiple drivers coming across uncomfortable scenarios during races

The global governing body of motorsports, FIA has decided that, in the interests of safety, it is necessary to intervene regarding the issue of ‘porpoising’ and ensure that teams make necessary adjustments to reduce or eliminate the phenomenon. FIA has issued a technical directive to give guidance to the teams about the measures the FIA intends to take to tackle the problem.

F1 teams are facing challenges to control the extreme effects of porpoising. It can be triggered by bumps or the car simply running too low a ride height. Once triggered, the car starts bouncing up and down before the driver hits the brakes slowing down significantly. Teams were aware it might happen but none expected it to be so regular or extreme. Most technical directors believe it can be fixed with updates that were not part of the original development plans.

What are the immediate measures taken by FIA to reduce porpoising?

The FIA has decided to intervene following consultation with its doctors in the interests of the safety of the drivers. In a sport where the competitors are routinely driving at speeds more than 300km/h, it is considered that all of a driver’s concentration needs to be focused on that task and that excessive fatigue or pain experienced by a driver could have significant consequences should it result in a loss of concentration.

The short-term directives issued by FIA to all the teams include:

Closer scrutiny of the planks and skids, both in terms of their design and the observed wear2. The definition of a metric, based on the car’s vertical acceleration, will give a quantitative limit for an acceptable level of vertical oscillations. The exact mathematical formula for this metric is still being analyzed by the FIA, and the Formula 1 teams have been invited to contribute to this process.

Credits: FIA

In addition to these short-term measures, the FIA will convene a technical meeting with the Teams to define measures. Which will reduce the propensity of cars to exhibit such phenomena in the medium term.

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