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How the FIA ​​crackdown on F1 will actually work

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In the wake of a particularly brutal Baku race for a number of drivers, with Lewis Hamilton’s back pain highlighting the hits some are facing at the moment, the FIA’s intervention to try and eradicate the problem has added a new dimension to the debate. .

In a technical directive sent to teams on Thursday by FIA single-seater technical director Nikolas Tombazis, the governing body set out how it plans to tackle the matter in a bid to help drivers.

And while F1’s TDs are never officially published, this is how the FIA ​​explained its plan to teams for the immediate, short and long-term future.

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Mick Schumacher, Haas VF-22, George Russell, Mercedes W13, as sparks fly

Photo by: Steven Tee/Motorsport Images

IMMEDIATE CAR CHANGES

One of the main difficulties teams have faced in curing the porpoise has been trying to maintain a stable aero platform as downforce levels increase down the straights.

Things have been complicated by some teams suffering from the edges of the floor flexing downwards as speeds increase, leading to increased downforce levels.

In theory this sounds great, but the reality is that the increased downforce speeds up the extent to which the car is pushed onto the track, thus making the porpoise worse.

It was this issue that prompted the preseason decision to allow teams to use a single-deck brace to help strengthen the edges and limit flex.

Starting with the Canadian Grand Prix, the FIA ​​will allow two more measures to help teams strengthen their floors. They will be allowed an additional support mounted further forward than already adopted, which is something that Mercedes has already introduced.

Detail of the floor of the Mercedes W13

Detail of the floor of the Mercedes W13

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Additionally, teams will be allowed additional thickness on the top surface of the floor, even if this violates local regulations on curvature or protrudes beyond the volumes defined in the regulations.

If these changes provide a tangible benefit in helping to tackle the porpoise, then the FIA ​​will propose a formal rule change that teams can vote on for approval by the World Motor Sport Council.

bounce metric

One of the things the FIA ​​wants to gather about the Canadian Grand Prix is ​​whether it can determine whether a car exhibits “excessive vertical accelerations” when bouncing.

This will be looked at first through a closer inspection of the wear patterns of the boards and skids on the cars, as well as the ways that some teams are reducing wear on their skids.

The FIA ​​is also hoping to put together what’s known as Aerodynamic Oscillation Metrics (AOM), which will help it determine if cars are moving too much.

This will be achieved by analyzing a sensor already fitted to cars near their center of gravity to help measure vertical acceleration in the hope that an AOM figure can be agreed upon to set a ceiling.

If this can be achieved in future races, teams will be asked to calculate their own AOM over three consecutive laps in the final free practice session on Saturday morning without using DRS (any lap not done at racing speed or following other cars will be discarded).

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri AT03, lights some sparks

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri AT03, lights some sparks

Photo by: Carl Bingham/Motorsport Images

With this number on the line, teams will have to stick to their values ​​for ride height, vertical stiffness and aero setup for the rest of the weekend.

The only exceptions to this will be jacking up the car, if the weather changes, cooling settings, tire pressure changes, or front wing angle adjustment.

If a team cannot deliver a configuration that meets the AOM figure, they will be required to produce a configuration sheet with the lowest AOM they can and increase the static ride height by 10mm.

The penalty for failing to comply with the AOM number is clear. The FIA ​​has warned teams that if cars bounce too much and exceed set limits, they risk being disqualified from an event.

This would be done until Article 1.3 of the 2022 F1 Technical Regulations which relates to ‘dangerous construction’. The rule states: “The stewards may exclude a vehicle whose construction is considered dangerous.”

If teams agree on procedures for determining an AOM figure, which many within the paddock are skeptical of, then the FIA ​​could try to provide a metric for when the car is running on track.

Sparks fly from the back of Lando Norris, McLaren MCL36

Sparks fly from the back of Lando Norris, McLaren MCL36

Photo by: Steven Tee/Motorsport Images

Longer term changes

Whether or not classifying the AOM is a success or proves infeasible, the FIA ​​is determined to produce better rules by 2023 and beyond that will eradicate the porpoise problem.

He wants teams to support this push in CFD by testing potential modifications to the cars that could help reduce the current generation of cars’ propensity for bouncing.

As options that could be considered, Tombazis wrote: “Geometries to be investigated could include raising the floor edges, lowering the floor deck, removing the leading edge wing, etc. We are also open to possibility. to allow for greater floor stiffness, through additional suspension, if this is deemed beneficial.”

Discussions with the teams are planned at an upcoming meeting with the technical directors with a view to starting the change process for next year.

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