The governing body announced ahead of this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix that it will measure the severity of bumps in each car to collect data on what can be done to reduce the risk of ricochets causing health problems for drivers.
The porpoise issue has plagued teams since the new ground-effect cars were first tested earlier in the year, although some like Mercedes have had it worse than others, including Red Bull, McLaren and Alpine.
But the possibility of repeated surface bounces and bumps causing short- and long-term injuries to drivers has made headlines after recent bumpy track races in Monaco and Azerbaijan.
Particularly at the Baku race, the high-speed layout meant the cars hit the ground more often on its long straights, which meant the cars’ suspensions could provide less support than at other events.
From the start of practice for the Montreal race, the FIA will monitor telemetry data, and then physical results under the porpoise car at each team, to come up with a metric that will establish what are considered unacceptable levels and force squads that are outside of that measure. make changes to reduce it.
While Russell acknowledged that the FIA’s move is “good to see them take the lead and act immediately” in the wake of widespread feedback from drivers in Baku, the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association director said “what was presented this weekend” is “more of a sticky plaster than the solution”.
He added: “We have to wait and see [for the results of the FIA data gathering]. I think even for the teams that suffer the least, it’s still an incredibly aggressive and bumpy ride.
“The FIA has full access to all the vertical acceleration loads we’re going through and it’s much safer than one would expect.”
“So more important conversations are definitely needed to move forward and where do we go from here.”
Speaking alongside Russell at the pre-practice press conference in Canada, Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc expressed a sentiment of opposition to the FIA’s decision to act on the porpoise through a new technical directive because it has not found that be a direct problem on the F175.
“I don’t completely agree from my side,” Leclerc said. “I feel like it’s the team’s responsibility to give me a car that’s good to drive.
“So far, I haven’t had any particular problems with it. Yes, it’s stiffer than last year’s car.”
“Whether it’s undrivable or very difficult for me, I don’t think it is, or at least personally. From our side, we found solutions to make it better.”
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
Photo by: Francois Trembley/Motorsport Images
Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll cited concerns that the severe bounce and impact on drivers’ bodies “is not sustainable over 23 races”, and that for the next few years of the new era of Aston Martin’s ground effect rules F1 “If it’s going to be like this every year, I think it’s hard on the body.”
Alpine racer Esteban Ocon suggested that when addressing safety, F1 stakeholders should also consider the new levels of stiffness in new cars, and how that is also a concern for driver health, as it can send energy to through drivers in other areas, even when they are in porpoise. It is not a problem
“We’re not as bad as other cars,” Ocon said of Alpine’s position on the porpoise.
“It seems that some cars are easier to drive than others. But what is very positive is that the FIA is taking steps to look after us and that is a very positive thing.”
“[However,] there are two aspects that I think we should not mix: it is the porpoise issue and the general stiffness of the cars.
“Because in some corners that we already had last year, for example in Monaco after the tunnel, when I hit the curb badly, I felt it hard on my body, and that’s not something at the end of the straight or something like that. that.
“So the stiffness of the car in general is also an issue. It’s not necessarily [just] how much porpoise you have at the end of the straights”.