Formula 1 teams have agreed to a change in the sport’s technical regulations that would see floor edges lifted by 15mm, as the FIA wants to take action to reduce or completely eliminate porpoising, according to a recent report from RacingNews365.
Last week, team representatives took part in a meeting at a Technical Advisory Committee with the FIA, and it seems that all teams agree to raise the cars’ floor edges by 15mm for the next season.
With the goal of reducing the bouncing which some teams have complained about in the first part of the 2022 Formula One season (especially Mercedes), the FIA initially wanted to raise the floors by 25mm, but this idea had been met with opposition from at least half the teams on the grid, given the fact that it would lead to a strong impact on the 2023 cars and also costly redesigns of the floor, especially taking into consideration the fact that not all cars have been affected.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff had been a vocal proponent of raising the cars’ floors, officially justifying the changes for safety issues and concerns over the long term effects of bouncing on drivers’ health, but while also being aware that such a rule change would benefit his time by reducing the performance gap to Red Bull and Ferrari
“The FIA has commissioned medical work on the porpoising,” – Toto Wolff explained – “The summary of the doctors is that frequency of 1-2Hz, sustained over a few minutes, can lead to brain damage. We have 6-7Hz over several hours. So the answer is very easy: the FIA needs to do something about it.”
Ferrari and Red Bull against raising floors
In a strong opposition, championship leaders Red Bull and their title rivals Ferrari have not encountered so big issues with bouncing. Red Bull boss Christian Horner recently warned that accepting a rule change based on safety grounds would be an undesirable and dangerous precedent.
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“I think that a compromise needs to be found, but it’s a little bit of a tricky one because that regulation change is massive. It changes the whole concept of the aerodynamics. And it’s a tricky one for the FIA, because where do you draw the line? While there is a safety obligation of the FIA to look into, where does that line stop? Do we need to seek permission to go from slicks to wet or wet to slicks? If we hit a kerb or not? You’ve got to be very careful about the unintended consequences of these things.” – he explained.
When asked about compromise (the 15mm raise), Christian Horner struck a phlegmatic tone: “[15mm] is not as good as leaving it alone, [but] it’s not as bad as the 25mm that was originally [suggested]. It’s a compromise that we’re just going to have to incorporate for next year. We’ll just have to deal with it and find a solution. That’s what we’ve been good at over the years, and we’ll just have to do that with this challenge.” – he concluded.